Spray paint muralists help remember those with hepatitis

Jul 28, 2015, 07:15 ET from Hep C Connection

DENVER, July 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Globally, more than 4,000 people a day die from hepatitis in various forms. In remembrance of the lives lost to hepatitis, spray-paint muralists transformed the alley walls behind Owl and Orchid Tattoo in Denver into a sixty-foot span of art in honor of World Hepatitis Day 2015. The street art fair was organized by Denver's Hep C Connection to spotlight those who suffer with the deadly blood-borne virus that damages the liver, and to call attention to the need for more testing, awareness and advocacy.

World Hepatitis Day, held annually on July 28, is a United Nations holiday and one of only four disease-based holidays recognized by the World Health Organization. In partnership with World Hepatitis Alliance and the WHO, millions of people around the world honor the day. Public and private groups sponsor various events to draw attention to the advances being made in prevention, detection and treatment.

Recent advances in treatment of the hepatitis C virus mean a cure is possible for up to 95 percent of those infected, and treatment times have been greatly reduced. Because the disease can be asymptomatic for years, most of those infected -- including many baby boomers, drug users, men who have sex with men and people with tattoos -- are unaware they have contracted the virus. Further complicating the issue are the many hurdles to treatment faced by patients and their providers once a diagnosis has been made.

Celebrating 20 years, Denver's Hep C Connection was founded in 1995 as a patient-to-patient support and awareness group. Today, Hep C Connection has grown into a unique and comprehensive model of public awareness and prevention strategies, educational programs, and support services for both patients and providers. Hep C Connection provides free screening for hepatitis and operates a national hepatitis hotline for patients and providers. They work to coordinate the extended efforts of public agencies and private organizations. And, Hep C Connection educates public officials about the need for more and better government action on this important public health issue.

El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton, who sponsored a proclamation for National Hepatitis Testing Day in May, was at the fair to support the work of Hep C Connection.

Ten groups participated with Hep C Connection in this year's street art fair including: Harm Reduction Action Center; Tri-County Health Department; Avella Specialty Pharmacy; AbbVie Pharmaceuticals; Morpheus Syringe Exchange Program; Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Viral Hepatitis Program; Scale's Pharmacy; Denver Public Health and Denver Colorado Aids Project.

The World Hepatitis Day 2015 murals were spray-painted by Steven Young, Jr., Zehb, Robin Munro, Raven Porteous, Mpek and Bethany Mounce.

Visit the Hep C YouTube channel to view a time-lapse video of the murals by Robin Munro at: https://youtu.be/hYpvwimcBs4

Video - http://youtu.be/hYpvwimcBs4
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150728/246582

SOURCE Hep C Connection