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Gilead Canada launches national educational and screening initiative to address Hepatitis C infections
 
 
  This GivingTuesday, Take a 15-Minute Break. For You. looks to increase access to care for at-risk individuals
 
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 30, 2021 /CNW/ - Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc. (Gilead Canada) today announced the launch of Take a 15-Minute Break. For You. looks, a nationwide campaign dedicated to increasing awareness of and screening for the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) within underserved communities. The campaign will kick off on November 30, GivingTuesday, a global generosity movement that unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.* COVID-19 has caused significant shifts in HCV service and slowed progress towards elimination, making this a critical time to reengage HCV treaters and priority populations. 1

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Take a 15-Minute Break. For You. makes HCV disease awareness materials and educational resources more accessible to actively engage individuals at increased risk of contracting the disease, including people who consume drugs; people with lived experience of incarceration; First Nations, Inuit and/or M├ętis people; and people who are homeless or precariously housed.
 
"We are excited to launch Take A 15-Minute Break. For you." said Melissa Koomey, General Manager of Gilead Canada. "By directly targeting at-risk communities and making information more accessible, we hope to reduce some of the common barriers to health care and give priority populations the opportunity to take action."
 
The campaign centres on one key action: Taking a break. Gilead Canada and community partners will activate coffee breaks across Canada and ask those at risk of contracting HCV to take 15 minutes for themselves, and to learn more about how HCV is transmitted, tested for and diagnosed.
 
"Nearly two years later it feels like we are turning the page on the COVID-19 pandemic, and with that we have many areas in healthcare that require attention. We know for certain that Hepatitis C testing and treatment greatly declined, largely due to healthcare organizations having reduced capacity," said Mia Biondi, Omega Specialty Nurse and community partner. "With this campaign, we are returning to previous non-profit partnerships, as well as establishing new ones to ensure HCV care and elimination becomes a priority once again. We know this will be crucially important to recover from the effects of COVID-19 on HCV care, and ultimately to prevent liver disease." The pandemic caused additional challenges, including:
 
•The scaling back of harm reduction programs, leading to potential increases in rates of HCV infection and reinfection.
 
•Paused testing in overtaxed labs.2
 
Chronic HCV affects approximately 246,000 Canadians, 44 per cent of whom don't know they have it.3 A person can have HCV for years without showing any symptoms. If left untreated, HCV can progress over time to cause serious liver damage and is associated with a range of systemic health problems, decreased quality of life, and increased healthcare costs. With a quick HCV test, individuals can know if they have been exposed to the virus.
 
Take a 15-Minute Break. For You.. is part of Gilead Canada's commitment to the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of eliminating chronic Hepatitis C infection by 2030.
 
*Gilead Canada is not an official partner of GivingTuesday.
 
About Gilead Sciences
 
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis and cancer. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
 
Gilead and the Gilead logo are registered trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies.
 
Learn more about Gilead at www.gilead.com, follow Gilead on Twitter (@GileadSciences) or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000.
 
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1 Action Hepatitis Canada:
https://www.actionhepatitiscanada.ca/uploads/8/3/3/9/83398604/ahc_progress_report_2021.pdf. Accessed Nov, 21
 
2 Action Hepatitis Canada:
https://www.actionhepatitiscanada.ca/uploads/8/3/3/9/83398604/ahc_progress_report_2021.pdf. Accessed Nov, 21
 
3 CATIE; Hepatitis C Treatment:
https://www.catie.ca/en/practical-guides/hepc-in-depth/treatment/choosing-drug-combination-chronic-hepatitis-c. Accessed Oct, 2021.
 
SOURCE Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc.
For further information: Sheri Clish, sheri.clish@narrative.ca; Ashley Belfast, ashley.belfast@narrative.ca

 
 
 
 
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