Still Out There – hep C which has a cure & hep B which has a vaccine…

In these COVID-focused times, it is worth remembering that there are other viruses out there, active in our community. World Hepatitis Day reminds us that over 226,500 Australians – including over 12,000 South Australians – live with the hepatitis B virus, and the hepatitis C virus still affects the health of 114,000 Australians despite the availability of highly effective Medicare-funded treatments.

While South Australia has done well in treating people with chronic hepatitis C, the rate of treatment uptake has been dropping dramatically; and our state’s hepatitis B clinical care uptake is below national average, and well below the National Strategy target.

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Hep C: the virus that can be cured – making ‘not ok’ a bit more ‘ok’

By Lisa Carter

If you haven’t achieved some great new thing while in isolation, there is something wrong with you. At least that’s what some social media influencers would have us believe. 

Motivational posts urging you to learn a new language, start a new business or acquire new knowledge, label you as lacking in discipline if you achieved none of those grand goals. 

Truth is, if you are anything like me, you’d have been struggling to bother to even get dressed each day.

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“I’ll have hep C treatment eventually.”

Competing priorities for people who inject drugs

Opioid substitution treatment (OST) clinics are considered ideal locations for providing treatment for people with chronic hepatitis C virus infection who inject drugs, a vital priority group for achieving the goal of HCV elimination. But despite the availability of highly effective treatments with relatively few side effects, treatment uptake is yet to reach the level needed to achieve elimination.

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Talk to a Nurse

South Australia’s Viral Hepatitis Nurses are clinical practice consultants who work with patients in the community, general practice or hospital setting. They provide a link between public hospital specialist services and general practice, and give specialised support to general practitioners (GPs) to assist in the management of patients with hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

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Treating Hepatitis C Under Nearly Impossible Conditions

Even in a country like Australia, with a high standard of living and a socialised health system, the battle to eliminate hepatitis can be challenging. So what is it like in a country like India, where poverty, population pressures and lack of health funding and education make every medical challenge so much harder?

Dr Sunil Solomon is Associate Professor of Medicine at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He spoke at the Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference in Adelaide about his work on eliminating HCV among people in India who inject drugs.

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Cured the hep C? Next up, quit smoking

You may have read recently that health experts in the US are concerned that the health gains made by treating people with hep C will be lost because this group is three times more likely to be smokers. While we don’t have any figures about how many people with hepatitis C smoke here in Australia, we do know from personal experience that there are many smokers among people who’ve been treated.

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