For immediate release
Victoria, BC, May 25, 2015.
From across the aisle and across the province, 16 British Columbia MLAs and 5 staff volunteered to “roll up their sleeves” to get tested for hepatitis C in hopes they can help broaden, normalize and de-stigmatize use of this test. After hearing that 75% of the people with hepatitis C in Canada are in the age cohort born 1945 – 1965, and 44% of the people who have Hep C don’t know it, they decided to show leadership (and courage – who likes needles?) – by getting this simple blood test publicly. The two nurses from Victoria Cool Aid Society and volunteers from HepCBC Hepatitis C Education & Prevention Society said they were surprised at the strong response, and had to turn away three MLAs (Stephanie Cadieux from the government, plus Bill Routley and John Horgan) when they ran out of needles!
MLAs who were able to get tested (see photos below) included: Government MLAs Ralph Sultan, Naomi Yamamoto, and Simon Gibson plus official opposition MLAs Scott Fraser, Carole James, George Heyman, Maureen Karagianis, Lana Popham, Jennifer Rice, Harry Bains, Katrine Conroy, Gary Holman, and Jenny Kwan. The MLAs said they are starting to see hepatitis C as a seniors issue, an aboriginal issue, an immigrant issue, and an equity issue for those living in rural/remote areas. The fact that hepatitis C is both preventable and curable makes testing and treatment even more urgent.
See original posting here: http://hepcbc.ca/2015/05/baby-boomer-hcv-testing-by-bc-mlas/