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Clearing the Path for hepatitis C treatment

Jul 28, 2020

Hepatitis C testing and treatment is now super simple, super safe, super manageable and super effective, yet some people aren’t getting treated because they are relying on old information about previous types of treatments.

This Hepatitis Awareness Week (Monday 27 July to 2 August) is a great chance to learn more about the latest treatments. The introduction of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) in recent years has changed hepatitis C treatment for the better. People can be treated at local health services, and most don’t need to attend a Liver Clinic.

This year’s hepatitis C campaign, Clearing the Path, aims to raise awareness of DAA treatments while dispelling stubborn myths about treatments of the past.

DAAs have a cure rate of more than 95 per cent with minimal, if any, side effects for most people. Taken as daily pill doses, the new treatments take just 8 or 12 weeks. 

“Thousands of people in NSW have already been treated and cured since March 2016, but many more living with hepatitis C are yet to seek treatment,” Manager North Coast HIV and Related Programs Jenny Heslop said.

“Research shows that lack of information or misconceptions are the main reasons people with hepatitis C hadn’t come forward to be treated.”

Hepatitis C is a virus that is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and can, over time, damage a person’s liver – leading to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.  

Someone could be at risk of hepatitis C if they have ever had blood-to-blood contact. Sharing injecting equipment or getting home tattoos or home piercings are the most common means of transmission.  

Tens of thousands of people in NSW are living with hepatitis C, but many do not know they have the virus. Some people do not have symptoms. A blood test is the only way to check if someone has the virus.  

“Being cured of hepatitis C can improve quality of life. Most people who have finished their course of treatment report feeling greater levels of energy and alertness,” Jenny said.

For details about hepatitis B or C, contact your local GP or find your nearest liver clinic at: https://mnclhd.health.nsw.gov.au/services/hiv-and-related-programs-harp/

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