Sector Release

Hepatitis Awareness Week, 23-28 July 2018, Australia

With effective viral hepatitis treatments available to help manage hepatitis B and cure hepatitis C, Australia is leading the way for a future without viral hepatitis, which is the theme of Hepatitis Awareness Week 2018. An estimated 237,894 Australians are living with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and 177,812 with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), at risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is essential for primary care providers to know the risk factors, test, diagnose and treat if required, to prevent this.

VIDEO:  Dr Sam Elliott—a principal GP with 27 years of rural and urban General Practice experience along with 18 years HIV and Hepatitis management, offers a message reminding primary care providers of their vital role in eliminating Viral Hepatitis in Australia.

 

What is Hepatitis Awareness Week?

Hepatitis Awareness Week 2018 will begin on Monday 23 July to World Hepatitis Day on Saturday 28 July, with the aim of raising awareness of viral hepatitis and the impact it has worldwide. The theme in Australia for 2018 is 'Why Miss Out'.

In 2016 Australia became a world leader in access to new treatments to cure hepatitis C, which is available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) via prescription by your GP or specialist. Access to vaccinations to prevent hepatitis B have been affordable for some time and treatment for hepatitis B is available through the PBS. This presents a golden opportunity for many thousands of Australians.

 

Hepatitis B in Australia

All primary care providers have a role to play in the testing, diagnosis and management of chronic hepatitis B (CHB).

Only 62% of people living with CHB are diagnosed, 17% engaged in care and 7.2% receiving treatment. Timely diagnosis and clinical management including antiviral therapy, can prevent CHB-related deaths from cirrhosis and liver cancer.

 

How primary care providers can make a difference

 

Access hepatitis B resources

 

Hepatitis C in Australia

Hepatitis C can be cured with Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) medications available on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). GPs can prescribe these regimens under the S85 General Schedule.

Everyone living with chronic HCV infection should be considered for antiviral treatment. It is well tolerated, shorter duration, orally administered and offers cure rates of >95%.

Curing hepatitis C substantially reduces the risk of liver cancer and liver failure, reducing mortality from cirrhosis and liver cancer. It can also improve quality of life, including physical, emotional, and social health.

 

How primary care providers can make a difference

 

Access hepatitis C resources

 

Viral Hepatitis Events

 

 

 

References