My name is Hannah and I am the new summer events coordinator here at the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity! On July 28th, I got to be a part of World Hepatitis Day, organized by the Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH).
World Hepatitis Day is an international day meant to raise awareness around Hepatitis A, B and C. I learned many tidbits of information throughout the day. Specifically Hepatitis C is a sexually transmitted & blood-borne infection (STBBI) which, as its name suggests, can be passed along through blood-to-blood contact. Young or old, regardless of race or gender, anyone can be at risk. There are, however higher risk groups such as substance users (specifically with the involvement of shared needles) or those having high risk unprotected sex. Also, there are vaccines for hepatitis A and B, however, there isn’t one for hepatitis C! All of these factors combined lead up to a very important message: get tested!
To do our part in raising awareness on the topic of Hepatitis, Kai and I ventured to Ottawa City Hall where countless organizations had tables set up, each relating to Hepatitis in some way. Some of these included Ottawa Public Health, The Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy, the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, Youth Services Bureau Ottawa, and even Living Colour Tattoo had a table educating people about safe tattoo and piercing procedures!
The Canadian Centre for Gender &Sexual Diversity’s table featured a variety of information ranging from brochures on sexual orientation and human rights to booklets featuring basic information for people beginning to learn about LGBTQ+ issues. Many people stopped by to inquire about the services we offer and the campaigns we have been a part of. Some even stopped to play our game “Pop the stigma!”, which focuses on providing fast facts on STBBIs in a fun way, and challenges the ways we think about hepatitis C and other STBBIs.
All in all, the day was a huge success. We hope that people worldwide have learned something new today, and we encourage everyone to get tested – it’s the only way to be sure!