EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR STATEMENT

Statement of the UNODC Executive Director on World Hepatitis Day

28 July 2018

Vienna, 28 July 2018 - On World Hepatitis Day, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) calls on people across the world to join us in taking action to find the "missing millions".

Far too many people have viral hepatitis, but are unaware or unable to receive treatment. This includes many millions of people who inject drugs as well as people in prison.  

Globally, every second person who injects drugs is living with hepatitis C. Women who inject drugs have a 38 per cent higher risk of contracting hepatitis C than their male counterparts.  The prevalence of hepatitis B infection among people who inject drugs is 7.5 per cent.

These challenges are further magnified within prison walls, due to the use of contaminated equipment and unsafe injection of drugs, along with other risk factors such as unsafe tattooing and skin piercing. A global review published in 2016 indicated that, of the estimated 10.4 million people incarcerated worldwide on any given day, 15.1 per cent have hepatitis C and 4.8 per cent have chronic hepatitis B.

Without evidence-based policies to support massive scaling up of prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment services around the world, millions will remain lost and miss the chance of receiving life-saving medicines, and millions more will continue to be infected.

UNODC remains committed to working with Member States, UN partners and civil society to help prevent and ultimately eliminate hepatitis B and C among people who inject drugs and in prisons, in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

For further information, please contact:

Sonya Yee
Speechwriter and Spokesperson, UNODC
Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-4990
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4990
Email: sonya.yee[at]un.org

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