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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED KINGDOM: Champions Team Helps Tackle Silent Epidemic of Hepatitis C
By Natasha Adkins
October 28, 2013
getreading (10.22.2013)

A volunteer team from the Reading, England Asian community successfully carried out a health initiative to identify hepatitis C-infected individuals among the hard-to-reach, high-risk Asian population in their community. Nurse Consultant Dean Linzey pioneered the Blood Borne Virus (BBV) Champions team, which has tested 200 Reading Asian community members and established three new community surgeries. Linzey praised the volunteer champions for their professionalism in using their intimate community knowledge to promote hepatitis testing and to start the new surgeries. The hepatitis C blood-borne virus was common in Asian countries because of unsterile syringes, according to Linzey. He emphasized the danger of exposure when Reading’s Asian residents traveled to visit family and stated that early identification and treatment were the best means to control hepatitis C infection from progressing. In the BBV model, volunteer champions recruited from the Asian community shared information to increase awareness and dispel stigma against hepatitis C-infected people and provided rapid testing. The testing model used an oral swab to take a sample from the mouth, which staff then immersed in a solution that would reveal a positive or negative result in 20 minutes. Champion and Administrator Safina Shahin noted that many Asians in Reading could have hepatitis C, but be worried about testing. She assured community members that hepatitis C treatment was easy and effective. The Reading BBV Champions model has been so successful that the sponsoring agency, Cranstoun Community Drug Agency, was introducing the program to other communities throughout the country. Linzey previously received the Pride of Reading Health Worker Award for a similar project that raised HIV awareness in African communities. Get more information or book an appointment via email at sshahin@cranstoun.org.uk or by calling 07815 952 897. Contact http://rvadirectory.org.uk/org/cranstoundrugservice to become a champion.

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