Mr. Speaker, one week from today, Canada will join with groups and nations all over the world to increase public awareness of two fatal diseases, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
One in 12 people worldwide lives with hepatitis B or C, including 600,000 Canadians. However, many people do not even know they are infected.
Oftentimes those infected have no obvious symptoms until serious liver damage has occurred, resulting in chronic lifelong viral infections that can infect anyone from any walk of life.
From harm reduction programs to needle exchanges in prisons, we must do more. We must raise the awareness and prevent these diseases.
As this is also Canada Health Day, I would urge all Canadians to visit www.whdcanada.ca or www.aminumber12.org to learn more about hepatitis B and C, the risk factors involved, and the steps to take to ensure one is protecting oneself and others.