Today marks World Hepatitis Day 2020, an annual event aiming to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, and encourage its prevention, diagnosis and treatment globally. The day coincides with the release of a new report, ‘Winning the Race to Eliminate Hepatitis C’ showing Australia is on track to eliminate the disease by 2030.
The report assesses the current status of hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination in 29 countries worldwide, including Australia, to determine the progress made by these countries over the past three years. The countries studied have each taken various actions towards eliminating the HCV, reflecting the World Health Organisation’s Global Strategy on Viral Hepatitis to eliminate viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030.
The report reveals Australia is yet to implement a national HCV patient registry to track and assist patients across the country, ensuring as many individuals as possible complete the care process. Despite this, Australia is noted for its innovative flat-fee model of treatment pricing in improving community access to direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medication.
This year, on World Hepatitis Day, Australians are being urged ‘Let’s Talk Hep’ with friends, family or a doctor to increase recognition of the disease, particularly among the thousands of Australians who are unaware they are living with viral hepatitis.
According to Hepatitis Australia, World Hepatitis Day will help Australians build on the momentum and accelerate progress towards achieving the goal of eliminating hepatitis B and C as a health issue.
“Talking about and raising community awareness of new affordable cures for hepatitis C and the importance of vaccinations against hepatitis B and having regular liver health checks will help,” said Hepatitis Australia.
The hepatitis virus includes a number of different strains, with hepatitis B and hepatitis C being the most common in Australia. Hepatitis C is one of few diseases that can actually be cured, with current medication used to treat hepatitis C resulting in a cure for more than 95% of people. Vaccinations for hepatitis B and hepatitis A are safe and effective, and are recommended from childhood.
To find out how you can get involved on World Hepatitis Day, visit worldhepatitisday.org.au.