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The Scottish Government is to spend 43m tackling Hepatitis C over the next three years.
 
 
  http://news.bbc.co.uk
 
Public Health Minister Shona Robison announced the funding at Dundee's Ninewells Hospital to mark World Hepatitis Day.
 
It is estimated that 50,000 people are infected with the virus, 38,000 of them chronically. However it is thought less than 40% of those have been diagnosed.
 
The money will go to health boards to improve treatment and testing.
 
Hepatitis C, a blood-borne virus which damages the liver, affects an estimated 50,000 people in Scotland. There is no vaccine or cure.
 
Ms Robison met medical staff involved in shaping the action plan, including representatives from NHS Tayside and Health Protection Scotland.
 
"A significant number of those affected have moved on from chaotic lifestyles and reintegrated into society as productive members of the community" Shona Robison Health Minister
 
She said: "There is still a lot of ignorance about Hepatitis C and part of our plan will be to work to raise awareness amongst professionals, the public and those at risk of infection.
 
"Although the disease is commonly associated with injecting drug users a significant number of those affected have moved on from chaotic lifestyles and reintegrated into society as productive members of the community.
 
"However living with the infection can be debilitating and destabilising and that is why the Scottish Government is committed to making sure that people get the best support and treatment to continue their recovery."
 
'Preventable deaths'
 
She added: "There are also a small number of people who have been infected with the virus through infected blood products or other medical interventions and again it is vital that they receive the most appropriate care to ensure that they can manage their condition.
 
"We are also committed to reducing the number of people becoming infected with Hepatitis C through education and awareness campaigns and initiatives designed to reduce needle sharing."
 
Up to one in 12 people worldwide are infected with either hepatitis B or C, according to new figures.
 
A study by The World Hepatitis Alliance found that an estimated 500 million people are infected.
 
President Charles Gore, chief executive of the UK charity the HepatitisC Trust, said: "These diseases are as widespread and as deadly as HIV/Aids, TB and malaria, but there is nowhere near the level of awareness nor the political will to tackle them.
 
"This must change because this huge death toll is largely preventable."
 
 
 
 
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