This September saw HepCBC cooperating with many different groups in Victoria and Vancouver to inform people from diverse communities about hepatitis B and C. These included members of First Nations, Chinese, IVDU (both active and in recovery), and homeless (or housing-challenged) communities. Three of the events included partnership with Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre (VIDC) who held popular HCV screening clinics on site. Two MLA’s visited us!

(PS: Click on any image for a larger version)

The events started on Sept. 13 in Vancouver with a belated but very welcome All-Day World Hepatitis Day event at the Carnegie Centre. This event, organized once again by John Cameron of the Consumers’ Board, included top speakers in the field, info booths, movies, prizes, and two great meals served to several hundred people in the Downtown Eastside Community. Our info booth adjoined VIDC, so we were able to refer people to them for testing, and they referred people to us as well. Examples to give a flavor of the event:

During 2016, the percentage of various types of medical professionals treating HCV changed dramatically. Most HCV was treated by gastroenterologists (blue) at the beginning of the year. By the end of the year, gastroenterologists, GPs (yellow), and other physicians (orange) each treated approximately 30% of the total.

Dr. Julio Montaner of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS spoke of how HCV could be eliminated in BC.

Cheryl Reitz of HepCBC showed how Undetectable for HIV meant a person couldn’t transmit HIV. However she stated that people who are Undetectable for HIV can still have, transmit, and catch HCV, HBV, and other STIs.

Cheryl at HepCBC’s info table, which adjoined the Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre’s table. VIDC was also doing HCV testing upstairs.

John Cameron of Consumer’s Board thanks Dr. Brian Conway of VIDC for his many contributions.

On Sunday, September 16th, HepCBC participated for the second year in a row at Recovery Day in Victoria (Centennial Square, downtown) with long-time Volunteers, Douglas Laird and Rosemary Plummer, THANKS Douglas and Rosemary!! They visited with Hon. Carole James, MLA Victoria-Beacon Hill and Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier, when she visited HepCBC’s info booth. Ms. James has consistently supported us over the years in many ways, in particular in promoting affordable access for all to life-saving hepatitis C drugs:

Carol James

Also on the same day (September 16th), HepCBC and VIDC once again joined forces at Burnaby’s “S.U.C.C.E.S.S.” Chinese Health Fair (HepCBC’s 4th year at the fair). Held at the Bonsor Recreation Centre, VIDC conducted HCV screening again, using the (very popular!) oral swab tests. Offering a no-needle option, with results in 15 minutes, is a real plus. False negatives are not a problem. However, as with all hepatitis C screening tests, a positive result requires a second test (with a needle) to confirm if infection is active, or simply means the patient had once been exposed, but had successfully cleared it (either through one’s own body fighting it off successfully, or through going through treatment). This is because HCV antibodies remain in the blood even following successful clearance.

HepCBC’s Info Booth for both Hepatitis B  and Hepatitis C.

Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre’s HCV screening and info booth.

HepCBC offered much information in Chinese, including our newly-translated HBV brochure.

Finally, September 25th was HepCBC’s second year at the DTES Alley Health Fair. A confluence of people and organizations representing First Nations and Chinese communities, as well as IVDU and sex worker advocacy groups. This event was made up of a truly vibrant mix of people interested in health and well-being for everyone. We were surprised how many more Chinese pamphlets were distributed (both HBV and HCV) at our booth this year compared to last year.

Looking down the alley way, towards the other end of the fair.

Chinese dragon at Pigeon Park Savings, at our end of the alley.

(l) Representative from the Dude’s Club, an aboriginal men’s health group, with (r) Hon. Shane Simpson – MLA Vancouver Hastings, also BC’s Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

Cheryl Reitz at HepCBC booth, which was shared with the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre HCV screening booth.

(l) Cheryl Reitz of HepCBC with (c) Hon. Shane Simpson, MLA, and (r) representative from the Dude’s Club, in front of HepCBC booth. We thanked Shane for the BC government’s support for people living with HBV and HCV.