Body Shop Founder Living with Hepatitis C
February 21, 2007
Roddick suffering from Hepatitis C
Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick has revealed she is suffering from Hepatitis C.
The 64-year-old contracted the disease through a blood transfusion while giving birth to her youngest daughter, Sam, in 1971, and is now suffering cirrhosis of the liver, one of its long-term effects.
Dame Anita said: “I have Hepatitis C. It’s a bit of a bummer but you groan and move on. I had no idea that I had this virus. I was having routine blood tests when it showed up.”
She added: “What I can say is that having Hep C means that I live with a sharp sense of my own mortality, which in many ways makes life more vivid and immediate. It makes me even more determined to just get on with things.”
Men are more than twice as likely to be infected with the disease, known as the “silent killer”, as women. It is transmitted by infected blood and people who share needles are particularly at risk.
Unprotected sex as well as sharing toothbrushes and razors also carries a small risk.
Dame Anita called for more public money to be spent on raising awareness of the disease, saying: “Well, I’ve always been a bit of a ‘whistleblower’ and I’m not going to stop now.
“I want to blow the whistle on the fact that Hep C must be taken seriously as a public health challenge and must get the attention and resources that it needs.”
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the number of adults infected with Hepatitis C in England was around 231,000 in 2003 and those living with serious liver disease caused by the virus could more than double by 2015.
An estimated 4,855 people are living with cirrhosis of the liver or serious liver failure in 2005. That figure is expected to rise to 10,090 by 2015.
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