NSW Health is encouraging people across the state living with hepatitis C to take advantage of new easy-to-take and highly effective medications which can cure the illness.
At the start of Hepatitis Awareness Week (23-28 July), Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said available medications have a cure rate of 95 per cent.
The medication program is part of the NSW Ministry of Health’s $4.5 million investment in 2018-19 to strengthen hepatitis c testing and treatment.
“People can be cured in 8-12 weeks with all-oral tablets – no injections, minimal side-effects and improved energy levels,” Dr Chant said.
“It is important that people see their GP to be treated for their hepatitis C as this will improve their own health as well as prevent the transmission of the infection to others.”
Dr Chant said viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in Australia.
“We are encouraged that we are making progress towards reaching our goal of eliminating hepatitis C across the state by 2028 with more than a quarter of people in NSW living with hepatitis C seeking treatment and a cure,” Dr Chant said.
“More than 21,000 people in NSW were treated for hepatitis C over a 21 month period between March 2016 and December last year. However, there are still an estimated 60,000 people remaining in NSW to come forward for treatment.
“To achieve hepatitis C elimination by 2028 increased efforts are needed across NSW to treat all people living with the infection.”
This year Hepatitis Awareness Week is focusing on increasing treatment efforts for people who inject drugs.
All people who currently inject drugs or have previously injected drugs should ask their doctor for a hepatitis C test and for hepatitis C treatment if they do have the infection.
More information on testing, treatment and prevention for hepatitis C: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/hepatitis/Pages/default.aspx