The Blood Bourne Virus (BBV) Nursing Service will be raising awareness in the Health Board by providing a question and answer service in Carmarthen Town Centre on Wednesday, July 25.
Information boards will also be displayed across sites in Withybush, Prince Philip and Bronglais Hospitals.
Janice Rees, Lead BBV Clinical Nurse Specialist said: “We want to raise awareness about Hepatitis B and C; particularly as so many people are unaware they may be affected.
"Anyone that has ever used drugs is potentially at risk of infection as well as anyone who has had a blood transfusion before 1991 or tattoos or piercings in a non-hygienic surrounding.”
The BBV nurses will offer a simple blood test to anyone who feels they may be at risk of infection. This can also be done anonymously if wanted.
Janice continued: “The consequences of chronic hepatitis are devastated if left untreated.
“People can develop inflammation or scarring of the liver which can lead to liver failure or cancer. A simple blood test can tell us if someone is infected, and we can then offer advice, treatment and support to prevent long term complications.”
To avoid becoming infected with hepatitis:
- Do not share any drug paraphernalia. This includes needles, filters, spoons, crack pipes, water, straws or notes for snorting
- Never share personal items such as razors or toothbrushes
- Always use a condom when participating in sexual intercourse
- If having tattoos or piercings, always use a reputable practitioner and ensure that sterile equipment is used.
If you would like to contact a BBV nurse for a blood test or further information on hepatitis, please use the number below:
Janice Rees, Lead BBV Clinical Nurse Specialist (Health Board Wide):
Nicola Reeve, BBV Clinical Nurse Specialist (Carmarthenshire):
Donna Blinston, BBV Clinical Nurse Specialist (Ceredigion):
Hepatitis B and C are viruses that affect the liver. One in 12 people worldwide are currently lives with the virus.
Of those infected by hepatitis B, ten per cent will become lifelong carriers. Without treatment to suppress it, these people are at risk of serious liver damage.
The majority of people infected with hepatitis C will become lifelong carriers without treatment. While a small number will clear the virus naturally, these people do not become immune and are susceptible to becoming re-infected. However treatment for hepatitis C is very successful and carriers can be cured.