Hepatitis Service (MHAHS) is reporting that Chronic hepatitis B disproportionately affects people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, particularly those born in regions where hepatitis B is common such as East and South-East Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa.
“Thanks to the advances in hepatitis B care, more people with chronic hepatitis B are living longer productive lives. However, the emotional cost of long-term treatment and care often goes overlooked”, according the Somali-born, hepatitis B advocate Nafisa Yussf.
“For many people with chronic hepatitis B, hospitals are like our second homes, with ultrasounds, blood tests and doctor’s appointments every 3 to 6 months. I decided to participate in this campaign because I want to raise awareness about what it is like to live with hepatitis B, so we can all take tangible action because it is a serious condition,” said Ms Yussf.
In NSW ethnic communities are the focus of a campaign to educate people about Hepatitis B and HIV. The campaign is being organised by MHHS and seeks to help people living with chronic hepatitis B and ensure they feel supported and not alone.
“If you have hepatitis B, you are not alone. This might sound a little cliché but you really aren’t. It’s important you find people who can understand your situation and can support you through your journey,” said Ms Yussf.
“In trying to look after our physical health, we often overlook our mental wellbeing. It’s very important that we look after our mental health. Do whatever it takes to look after your mind. Whether that’s doing yoga, chatting with a friend, or seeing a doctor. Do whatever helps you to cope living with hepatitis B and makes you relax” said Yussf.
MHHS is reminding CALD community members that they may have a higher risk of being diagnosed with Chronic hepatitis B, which can lead to liver damage or liver cancer and in most CALD communities this disease is passed on from mother-to-child at birth or during childhood, which is why it is important to be tested for it. There are treatments that can prevent liver cancer for those who have been diagnosed with Hepatitis B and mental health is an important part of living with chronic hepatitis B. The condition can be managed with support from GP and MHAHS is happy to provide any assistance in this regard. It can be contacted through its website wwww.mhahs.org.au or by phone 02 95151234 or Toll free 1800 108 098.