New online course helps people manage hepatitis C

A new self-learning course has been launched in British Columbia to help those at risk of, or affected by, hepatitis C.”Go For Care: Hepatitis C Knowledge Series” was developed by the BC Centre for Disease Control and released last week as an interactive module that provides basic information about hepatitis C. “Our interviews with patients and health-care providers uncovered a need for a resource like this – a one-stop source of basic information that’s easy to use,” said Dr. Gail Butt, clinical lead on hepatitis at BCCDC and an assistant professor at UBC. “The Hepatitis Knowledge Series will help people in their understanding of hepatitis C and help them get the care they need.”

Hepatitis C is a virus that is spread when there is bloodto-blood contact with someone who has the disease, such as when drug users share needles and syringes or when someone is accidentally pricked by a needle. Hepatitis C can lead to serious liver disease, liver cancer or premature death, although current treatments can cure about 65 to 75 per cent of infections.

The new online tool includes information about how hepatitis C is spread, how to get tested and how best to live with the disease and manage treatments. Narrated with minimal text, it includes videos, quizzes and downloadable materials. The course is a valuable tool, not only for those with hepatitis C and people at risk, but also for community service providers to use with their clients.

The Canadian Liver Foundation is teaming up with BCCDC on the project.

“There are thousands of Canadians living with hepatitis C who do not know it,” said Dr. Morris Sherman, chair of the Canadian Liver Foundation. “Diagnosis often comes as a complete shock, leaving people scared and scrambling for answers. This online course will allow newly diagnosed patients to learn about their disease at their own pace, no matter where they are.”

The BCCDC online course is at https://learninghub.phsa. ca/Courses/5935/hepatitis-c-the-basics.