Today (28th July) is World Hepatitis Day and an opportune time to highlight that breakthrough treatments are now available for the thousands of Western Australians living with hepatitis C. There was an interview on Radio National this morning with the Kirby Institute about improvements in hepatitis C treatments. Thanks to the advocacy work by Hepatitis Australia and negotiations by our federal government with the pharmaceutical industry, treatment is affordable and has more success and less side effects. As a nation we have the eradication of hepatitis C in our sights.
Hepatitis WA’s Executive Director, Frank Farmer said “New hepatitis C treatments which have a 95% cure rate, and can prevent liver cancer, liver cirrhosis and liver failure.”
Latest figures indicate that due to the cheaper and more effective treatments which have been available now for five months, a record number of Australians have already commenced treatment. More than 800 people in WA have accessed new hep C treatments, but it is estimated that 20,000 people are living with hepatitis C in the state. These people are missing out on treatment, either because they are unaware or have not spoken to their doctor.
“Ask your doctor about new hepatitis C treatments. Don’t miss out. You can be cured in as little as 12 weeks and with far fewer side-effects than previous treatments,” Mr Farmer said.
Another important resource to support the uptake of these new treatments is this partnership project with WA Health and Edith Cowan University, to support health care providers in being aware, confident and competent in delivering these new treatments: http://hepatitis.ecu.edu.au/
In terms of hepatitis B, it is estimated that there are 14,000 people living with hepatitis B in WA, but nearly one in two people don’t know they are living with hepatitis B and over 80 per cent are not receiving the care they need.
For more information about the new treatments, contact HepatitisWA on Metro (08) 9328 8538 Country 1800 800 070 or visit www.hepatitiswa.com.au