"There are many people who have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C but aren't taking action," said Rock 'n Roll Hall-of-Famer Gregg Allman.
A new public health campaign, Tune In to Hep C, aims to turn up the volume on this important health issue. To kick off the campaign, a benefit concert featuring The Allman Brothers Band and a special appearance by singer Natalie Cole, rocked The Beacon Theatre in New York City on July 27, the eve of World Hepatitis Day. The Beacon Theatre has special meaning for Allman, who has played there every year since 1991 -- with the exception of 2007, when the band had to cancel its performance because Allman was too ill from chronic hepatitis C to play.
Merck has a long-standing commitment to support the chronic hepatitis C community, and its Hope Against Hepatitis C initiative includes a variety of public-private partnerships that will involve public education, patient support programs and collaborative research efforts. Through the Tune In to Hep C public health campaign, Merck is working with the American Liver Foundation, Gregg Allman and Natalie Cole to educate and empower patients with chronic hepatitis C.
"I am grateful that Merck and the American Liver Foundation created this campaign to give a voice to those with chronic hepatitis C, and I hope that my story can help others overcome their fears about taking that next step by talking to their doctor about their options," said Cole.
Proceeds from the Tune In to Hep C Benefit Concert will be provided to community-based organizations that provide education and support services to people with chronic
According to C. Everett Koop, M.D. and former U.S. surgeon general, "...hepatitis C affects people from all walks of life...in every state...in every country."
The World Health Organization estimates that 130–170 million people are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus, and that more than 350,000 people die from hepatitis C-related liver diseases each year.
"I made the decision to take action and talk to my doctor, so that I could get back to making the music I love. I want others to take that action too," said Allman.
Many people don't even know they have chronic hepatitis C. Knowing how the virus spreads makes it easier to help protect yourself and others.