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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Rock ‘n’ roll antics viral film warns of ‘silent disease’

4th March 2010

Rock ‘n’ roll antics of the rich and famous are being used to encourage those who might be at risk of hepatitis C to get tested and treated.  Hepatitis C is a virus that affects around 200,000 people in the UK, of whom about half could be unaware they have it.

Animated in the style of a graphic novel, the film details incidents from rock history involving stars including Keith Moon and Jimi Hendrix and reveals their unexpected results.  The film uses these rock antics to grab attention and lead into describing the risks of contracting the hepatitis C infection.

The short Rock Antics online film is being used to encourage people to think about whether they might have ever been at risk of catching hepatitis C and if so to get tested and treated. Hepatitis C is often referred to as the ‘silent disease’ because  it does not usually cause symptoms for many years but may lead to serious liver damage, making it essential that those who think they might be at risk to come forward for testing.

Singer and rock star Lisa Moorish provided the film’s voiceover to help raise awareness of the virus. She has seen friends affected by hepatitis C, and says: “Many people have lived rock ‘n’ roll style lifestyles in their youth and may have put themselves at risk. Take the online self assessment quiz to assess whether you should get tested and treated at www.nhs.uk/hepc.”

Dr Kosh Argawal, Consultant Hepatologist at King’s College Hospital, London, a centre for excellence for liver disease and hepatitis, says:

“This online film says it all; if you’ve ever put yourself at risk of the virus, by injecting drugs or getting a tattoo abroad for instance, you may have hepatitis C and not know it. The good news is that hepatitis C can be treated, so get tested and get treated.”

Hepatitis C is spread mainly through blood-to-blood contact. The most common transmission route is through sharing equipment for injecting drugs, but those who received a blood transfusion before September 1991 or blood products before 1986 in the UK may also be at risk of infection.

Other less common ways the virus is passed on include:

  • from infected mother to baby, before or during birth
  • through unprotected sex with someone who has the virus
  • by medical/dental treatment abroad, where unsterile equipment may have been used
  • by tattooing, ear or body piercing, acupuncture, electrolysis and semi-permanent make-up where unsterile equipment may have been used
  • by sharing razors or toothbrushes that may have been contaminated with blood from someone who is infected.

Geoffrey Cleghorn, 61, was recently given the all clear after 12 months of treatment for hepatitis C.

"It just happened that I had to have a hepatitis C test for my job, otherwise I would never have known I had the virus. I used to feel tired and run down all the time, but I thought that it was just that I was getting older. Now that I’ve had treatment, I’m virus free and I feel brilliant and younger than I did before I was diagnosed. I’d urge anyone who thinks they might be at risk of hepatitis C to get a test.”

For further information on hepatitis C please go to www.nhs.uk/hepc or for confidential information and advice, call the Hepatitis C Information Line on 0800 181 4114 (textphone 0800 0850859). The Information line is open from 7am-11pm, 7 days a week.

To speak to someone who has been through the treatment, or who is living with the virus and for support to all those affected by hepatitis C, directly or indirectly, please phone the Hepatitis C Trust helpline on 0845 223 4424.


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