Quite Little, Very Late – Govt response to Silent Disease Report

The Federal Government’s response to the ‘Silent Disease’ inquiry into hepatitis C in Australia falls well short of what anyone living with hepatitis C could have hoped. Coming nearly 18 months after the report was submitted, the response fully accepted only three out of ten of the recommendations.

The Silent Disease Report was a comprehensive study from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, and can be read online here. It made 10 main recommendations about the way the Australian Government should respond to the ongoing epidemic.

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Helping People Adhere to Treatment Helps Treatment Succeed

The development of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatments has revolutionised the treatment of hepatitis C in Australia. DAAs are effective and, when patients follow the medication regime, can cure more than 90% of those who take the treatment. But at the moment there are limited resources to inform and guide health professionals as they try to provide adherence support to those undergoing DAA treatment.

Medication adherence refers to the way an individual takes a medication, including the use of the correct medication, the correct dose and time, duration and timely refilling of repeat prescriptions.

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Treating Children with HBV – Predictors of Success

A unique longitudinal real life study on entecavir-treated children and adolescents have found that HBV DNA results at six and twelve months after starting treatment, are predictors of viral suppression. Another predictor of success is an age of infection at 10 years or older.

The study results, based on data collected from 44 patients, support entecavir as a safe and effective treatment for adolescents with chronic hepatitis B.

Believed to be the first long-term study on hepatitis B treatment for children and adolescents, the research also found that duration of entecavir therapy was an important factor in achieving successful outcomes. On average, the odds of undetectable hepatitis B DNA increases by about five per cent with each additional month of therapy.

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Low Salt? But what will I eat?

Many people with liver disease are advised by their specialist to follow a low salt diet. Unfortunately, quite often no other information is given and people are left wondering just what to eat.

Salt/sodium, which is it?
Generally we’re used to talking about salt when it comes to food. However, it’s the sodium in salt (which is made up of sodium and chloride) which is of concern to our health. Packaged food labels state the amount of sodium they contain so it’s usually enough to know what your recommended maximum daily intake is. If you need to convert salt to sodium or vice versa, the Heart Foundation has a guide for you.

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Heroes of Old Treatment

As part of World Hepatitis Day, people all over the world were encouraged to investigate the new treatments now available for hepatitis C. These treatments are more effective, faster, easier to take and with much smaller side-effects than the treatments which were used up until early 2016.

However, all the excitement about the new treatments has obscured one thing: just how much hardship people had to go through before this year to treat their hepatitis C—hardship that quite frequently didn’t even end up in the virus being cleared.

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Hollywood Home Tattoos: The Dangers

Commercially successful but critically despised superhero movie Suicide Squad has certainly been effective at generating publicity for itself (perhaps unsurprising in a film that was re-edited by a movie trailer company in a last-minute salvage attempt).

Among the many attempts to get people talking about it was a peculiar social media campaign in which several of the movie’s stars took up careers as amateur tattoo artists, branding each other and members of the crew with toe-faces or misspelled words so that they could always remember being involved in the making of a film that scored 26% at Rotten Tomatoes.

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