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1,500 people offered free testing for hepatitis C

In the course of a nationwide campaign that will run through the end of March, 1,500 Estonians have the opportunity to have themselves tested for hepatitis C for free.

The newly-launched hepatitis C campaign has been coordinated with the Estonian Society of Family Doctors and is being conducted by the Estonian Cancer Society and pharmaceutical company AbbVie, a representative of the organizers said.

An estimated 20,000 people are infected with the hepatitis C virus in Estonia — almost three times more than the estimate for people infected with HIV, chairman of the Estonian Society for Infectious Diseases Matti Maimets said.

While last year's campaign aimed to raise people's awareness of the disease, this time around the focus is on offering free testing. "As hepatitis C is a disease whose virus people can carry unknowingly for 20 years, it is often diagnosed too late," chairman of the Cancer Society Maie Egipt explained.

Campaign organizers hope to test at least 1,500 people belonging to risk groups with the help of their testing partner SYNLAB.

At risk for hepatitis C are persons who have received a blood transfusion before 1994, had tattoos or body piercings at uncertified salons or come in contact with infected blood or shared needles.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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