FWLHD celebrating Hepatitis Awareness Week

Are you aware there’s a hepatitis C cure?

 Hepatitis Awareness Week (24-30 July) and World Hepatitis Day (28 July)

 People living with hepatitis C can now be cured with new, easy-to-take and highly effective treatments.

It is Hepatitis Awareness Week (24-30 July) and World Hepatitis Day on Friday (28 July) and the Far West Local Health District is encouraging people with hepatitis C to ask their GP or contact the local Viral Hepatitis Clinic at Primary Health about new treatments and to have a test.

“Over 11,000 people in NSW were treated for hepatitis C in 2016, which is 14 per cent of the estimated number of people living with hepatitis C in NSW,” said Ms Jo Lenton, Clinical Nurse Consultant Sexual Health/Hepatitis C, Far West LHD.

“With a cure rate of 95 per cent, it is now possible to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health concern in NSW and Australia.

“This is a major shift, and people are experiencing the full benefits of treatment. In almost all cases, people are not only cured of hepatitis C, but are feeling an improvement in energy levels and overall well-being,” said Ms Lenton.

The number of Australians with hepatitis C related liver disease has more than doubled since 2006 to over 49,000 people in 2015. Appropriate treatment can prevent the development of liver cancer.

“If we are to achieve the elimination of hepatitis C, we need people to ask about new treatments and to have a test.”

Most people with hepatitis C can now be cured in 8-12 weeks, with all-oral tablets, no injections and minimal side-effects.

“For people who know they have hepatitis C, there’s no reason why they cannot be living hepatitis C free by this time next year,” said Ms Lenton.

Ms Lenton said the challenges were different for hepatitis B, which can also lead to liver disease and cancer.

“People who know they have hepatitis B can get regular monitoring and access treatment. That’s why it’s important to get tested and find out if you’re at risk.” Getting a hepatitis B test is particularly important for people in priority sub-populations, including:

  • People born overseas in countries of high prevalence, including many countries in the Asia-Pacific region (such as China, Korea, and Vietnam); and
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

More information on testing, treatment and managements for Hepatitis B and C: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/hepatitis/Pages/default.aspx

People can request screening at their GP or at the Viral Hepatitis Clinic based at Primary Health at the Hospital. For inquiries or appointments phone 08 8080 1554. During Hepatitis week the clinic will be open 9-5pm Monday to Friday.

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