A new support service aimed at improving the lives of people with Hepatitis C has been launched in Argyll and Bute.
The service will support people living with Hepatitis C to start and maintain treatment through providing one-to-one support, and will also aim to reduce the number of people who contract the condition.
At present, there are no specific support services in the region for people living with Hepatitis C, but the new service - run by Waverley Care and funded by the Argyll and Bute community health partnership (CHP), part of NHS Highland - aims to change that by helping them to talk through their issues and supporting them to gain the confidence to start and maintain treatment.
Rachel Hughes, Waverley Care service manager, said: “People living with Hepatitis C can feel socially isolated and can often be living with other complex health issues and overall poor emotional, physical and mental health.
“This isolation can often be amplified for those living in rural areas such as parts of Argyll and Bute.”
Elaine Garman, public health specialist with the Argyll and Bute CHP, said: “It is excellent that this service is being launched today. The Community Health Partnership in Argyll and Bute aims to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in the area no matter how people describe how healthy, or not, they are. This service is an important step in providing support to people living with Hepatitis C.”
Currently, treatment for Hepatitis C can take from six months to a year. However, treatments are getting better with new drugs due to be released soon which can be taken over a shorter period of time. The new treatments are also expected to have fewer side effects.
There are approximately 38,000 people in Scotland living with Hepatitis C, a virus carried in the blood. Although symptoms may not appear for many years, the virus can cause damage to the liver – potentially leading to liver cancer or cirrhosis.