Awareness Raising

Strategic Goal Three: Greatly increased profile of viral hepatitis

Viral hepatitis is a major public health issue. It is the 7th leading cause of death worldwide, killing more people than HIV/AIDS every year. We will continue to advocate for a higher profile and priority for viral hepatitis.

Current Situation

Awareness of viral hepatitis worldwide is still woefully low.  The public in general have little understanding of what hepatitis is, the difference between the five viruses that cause it and how each is transmitted. As a result, in many parts of the world there is still a lot of stigma and discrimination. And viral hepatitis is still often seen as less important than HIV/AIDS, TB or malaria, despite being a bigger killer.

What does WHA do?

  • We coordinate World Hepatitis Day each year to provide an annual focus for raising awareness. We set the theme for the day and provides the campaign materials, all free to download from the official World Hepatitis Day website.  We work with our members, WHO Member States, civil society, doctors and communities to ensure there are activities happening around the world. In particular, we are working to see that all Member States participate in World Hepatitis Day, in line with the commitment they made in World Health Assembly Resolution 63.18.
  • We use our relationship with WHO and our Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to provide our expert opinion on matters related to viral hepatitis and we work with a range of partners to promote viral hepatitis within the global health agenda and ensure it has the same priority as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.
  • We work with our members to find and highlight patient stories that illustrate the human side of hepatitis and fight the stigma that surrounds it.
  • We are the pioneers of NOhep, the global movement to eliminate viral hepatitis. We developed the concept [of NOhep] in partnership with our members, in response to a strong call from the hepatitis community for both a joined-up approach to eliminate viral hepatitis and a campaign to catapult viral hepatitis into the same frame of awareness as the red ribbon and HIV/AIDs.