NSW is movingcloser to eliminating hepatitis C with research showing more than 22,000 peopleacross the state have been cured of the virus, using new easy-to-take treatments.
Chief Health Officer,Dr Kerry Chant is encouraging people living with hepatitis C in NSW to takeadvantage of new highly effective cures, as part of Hepatitis Awareness Week.
“We’re aiming toeliminate hepatitis C within the next 10 years,” Dr Chant said.
“Thanks togroundbreaking medications, the elimination of hepatitis C is now an achievablegoal.
“New medicationshave a cure rate of 95 per cent. They can be prescribed by any GP and a cure isusually achieved within eight to 12 weeks, with few or no side-effects.”
Around 29 percent of people estimated to be living with hepatitis C in NSW or 23,652 people,have now been treated. About 58,000 people across the state are yet to seektreatment.
For each patientcured, the NSW healthcare savings are $1,612 per year. This equates to $82million in savings and more than 22,000 patients cured since the new treatmentsbecame available in 2016.
Hepatitis NSWCEO, Stuart Loveday, said the new oral pill treatments are revolutionarycompared to the previous combination pill and injection treatments which tooklonger, had more side-effects and lower cure rates.
“It’s soimportant that people see their GP to get treated if they think they might havehepatitis C. Initially, there are almost no symptoms but if left untreated,hepatitis C can ultimately result in significant liver disease,” Mr Lovedaysaid.
Hepatitis NSWcommunity speaker, Jase Bell, said he was unsure how long he had been livingwith hepatitis C before he was diagnosed 18 months ago.
“I might havehad it for up to 20 years – I was shocked to be diagnosed because I had no ideaat all,” Mr Bell said.
“Fortunately, Iwas able to be treated and cured within a few short months. I would absolutelyrecommend the treatment to anyone living with hep C. Just do it.”
Hepatitis Awareness Week runs from 22 July,concluding with World Hepatitis Day on 28 July. Formore information on testing, treatment, and prevention for hepatitis C call theHepatitis Infoline on 1800 803 900 or visit hepc.org.au.