Let's Call March, Hepatitis Education Month


In thinking about the international and national public health campaigns to eliminate hepatitis, is general awareness of the disease enough to motivate treatment-hesitant hepatitis patients to accept clinical care, or does there need to be a greater commitment beyond that?

The World Health Organization's goal to Eliminate Viral Hepatitis by 2030 is an admirable one, but in response to this global campaign, we ask: Does awareness motivate individuals enough to act on? Does it help people to seek treatment of their hepatitis infected liver?

If there are no concrete reasons for changing behaviors or attitudes, how can they be motivated to actually seek treatment?

Awareness of a problem is incomplete without education: Without identifying how the problem occurred and concrete reasons or action steps needed to solve the problem? It is essential for people to recognize they have a tragically ignored, powerful internal life creating and sustaining organ,—their amazing liver, they depend on to be an active human being 365 days a year. 

Consequently, the answer to the aforementioned questions require the adoption of liver education.

Did you know your liver is made up of thousands of microscopic liver cells, each performing mini miracles non stop 365 days a year? They convert ingested food into hundreds of life supporting body parts and functions that make you the active individual you are.

Hepatitis viruses are enemies of this amazing silent organ.

These nasty viruses, hiding in the blood of individuals, can infect you through contact with mucous membranes in your eyes, nose, mouth, genitals, and anus. They sneak in through tiny abrasions or breaks in the skin, travel over your body’s complex network of blood vessels to your liver and your liver cells.

Once there, hepatitis viruses attack and damage the liver cells—called scarring or cirrhosis—destroying their ability to perform miracles creating hundreds of life supporting body functions, like "energy" your body uses 24/7 that you take for granted. You need healthy liver cells to keep your body functioning in tip top shape!

Your amazing life-preserving liver creates new healthy liver cells in between the damaged cells (cirrhosis). Continued assault increases the development of cirrhosis while new liver cells are created. The increased internal pressure forces excess cells to create bulges on the surface of the liver depicted in pictures of cirrhotic livers.

Cirrhosis also causes a blockage of the blood flow bringing essential nutrients from the intestines over to the liver for inclusion in the development of essential body functions by amazing liver cells. Ultimately, due to increasing pressure in blood vessels, varicose veins develop unnoticed in the stomach and esophagus creating the potential for a life-threatening hemorrhage.

In response to this worldwide emphasis on eliminating viral hepatitis, we ask: does this new information make a difference in your understanding and decision making about your own perception of hepatitis and liver health?

To find out more about liver education and access resources around it, go to the Liver Health Initiative website.

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