The history of The Hepatitis C Trust
The initial vision was to create:
- a much needed UK based website providing reliable information
- to set up a helpline manned by people who have or have had hepatitis C
- to improve services and education within the NHS
- to put pressure on the government to push hepatitis C further up their agenda because the UK has lagged so far behind other countries in terms of patient care, diagnosis, destigmatisation and raising awareness
The idea for the Trust came out of a meeting near the end of 1999 between four people with hepatitis C, two of them already cirrhotic. All of them had experienced problems getting reliable information - there was either too little or too much depending where they looked, and when there was too much, it was often contradictory.
It was also almost impossible to find any support. They were really surprised to find that there was not one single charity in the UK devoted to people with hepatitis C and yet there were over 500 HIV/AIDS charities. So they set about the legal requirements to establish the Trust. This turned out to be a surprisingly lengthy task but finally charity status was granted at the end of October 2000 and the Trust began operating in the summer of 2001.