Thousands of South Australians are missing out on life-saving treatment that can stop serious liver disease, simply because they don’t know about new treatments or are too afraid to ask.
My Health Record is an online database, operated by the Australian Government, designed to keep all your medical records in one place. The following information – taken from a paper prepared by Hepatitis New South Wales – describes the benefits and risks of this new system. It will help you make an informed decision and give information on how to opt out if you decide you do not want a record in My Health Record.
In the final installment of our series on low salt eating for people with liver disease we look at the challenge of managing your sodium intake when you don’t prepare your own food.
Taking every dose of your direct-acting antiviral gives you the best chance of a cure. Because many of these drugs are new, it’s not yet clear how missed doses may affect the success of your treatment, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and try not to miss any dose.
Remembering every dose can be difficult even when motivation is high and the treatment course short, as is the case for most people on the new hepatitis C medicines. The information that came with your drug should advise you on what to do if you do miss a dose and whether you should take it later or skip it.
While only 2.3% of South Australia’s population is Indigenous, almost a quarter (22%) of people in the State’s prison system are Aboriginal. The prison population is also rife with blood-borne viruses, including hepatitis B and C—viruses which also disproportionately affect Indigenous people in the general population.
Untreated chronic health conditions (as well as hepatitis these commonly include mental illness, diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases, cancer and drug use), compounded by a prisoner’s isolation from their family and community, and a fracturing in their cultural identity and spiritual wellbeing, can be catastrophic for an Aboriginal person in the prison system.
Hepatitis Australia is currently developing a campaign to reach baby boomers and other community groups who may have been missed in past hepatitis C awareness raising efforts.
Almost eight out of ten people living with hepatitis C are not current injecting drug users. Although the majority of Australians who acquire hepatitis C did so through unsafe injecting, 67 per cent (124,590) of them are no longer injecting drug users.
Close to 230,000 people were living with hepatitis C at the end of 2015. Of these, 25,000 (11%) were born overseas in regions of high prevalence and almost 16,000 (7%) contracted the virus through transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products, unsterile medical procedures, or mother-to-child transmission.