Despite having been one of the countries leading in the global campaign to eliminate viral hepatitis, Australia may now not meet its 2022 national hepatitis C treatment target or the 2030 global target.
Action needed now to eliminate viral hepatitis in the next 10 years
We live in a world built upon achievements. We have travelled to the moon, developed vaccines, created the internet and even cloned life itself. Today we have the opportunity to create our next greatest achievement: the elimination of viral hepatitis. The journey has already started.
In a rare alignment, the Australian 2021 World Hepatitis Day campaign is adopting the message of the global campaign. This year, both global and national campaigns are telling you: hepatitis can’t wait.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a common outcome in one aspect of healthcare – people with minor or chronic illnesses putting off seeing their healthcare providers. Unfortunately, for some conditions, there can be dire consequences if you wait. Hepatitis is one of those.
Hepatitis C tests are getting easier. That’s the promise on the horizon as new testing methods are introduced or trialed.
Current conventional hepatitis C testing consists of a blood test for hepatitis C antibodies, followed by a PCR test for the hepatitis C RNA, if antibody test comes back positive. There is the usual waiting period of a week or more after each test. For busy people or transient populations, that poses a challenge. Others are put off by the need to draw blood.
I have been reading the Hepatitis SA Community News for a long time, perhaps since its inception! I have always been interested to read other people’s stories of living with hep C. The time has come for me to tell my tale.
I have been living with the hep C virus for over 30 years, contracting it some time in the mid-to-late ‘80s. In my late teens and early twenties I discovered that injecting various drugs was a wonderful form of escape. My need to obliterate myself during this period was the result of having been sexually abused in my early teens by the leader of a NSW Church of England Boys Society group.
The Australian Government has used the delayed 2020 Federal Budget to commit to funding for several vital areas of hepatitis research, including pathogen genomics, prison-based interventions, and point-of-care testing. However, Australia’s hepatitis community has a right to view this commitment with some scepticism.