World Hepatitis Day is marked globally on 28 July. This is part of a worldwide campaign to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. In 2022 the theme is hep can't wait, reminding us that we need to be proactive in our efforts.
Hepatitis C has had a profound effect on our community. In Australia many people with bleeding disorders acquired hepatitis C from their plasma-derived clotting factor treatment products or other blood products before 1993. Several safety measures were introduced by 1993 and the risk of bloodborne viruses from plasma-derived clotting factor products in Australia is now considered to be extremely low. But many people in our community live on with the consequences of those early infections.
Highly effective hep C treatments are available in Australia. They are easy to take – one tablet a day, not injections – with cure rates above 95% and few if any side effects.
Who is at risk?
If you had clotting factor or a blood transfusion before 1993, you could be at risk for hepatitis C.
Many Australians with bleeding disorders and hepatitis C have now had treatment and been cured – but some might not even know they have hep C. You may have had very few treatments in your lifetime and never thought you would be at risk for hep C. If this is you, don’t wait. Talk to your doctor about being tested – find out if you have hep C. Testing and treatment is simple. Hep C can be cured.
Did you have liver damage or cirrhosis?
Has your liver recovered from hep C?
Don't wait to find out.
Call your hepatitis doctor or your GP to check your liver test results. Find out whether you need ongoing follow-up with a liver specialist.
If you had cirrhosis or extensive scarring before being treated and cured of hep C, you still need to have a liver ultrasound scan every 6 months long-term.
Have a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid or minimise alcohol intake.
Sadly, some people with bleeding disorders and hep C have very advanced liver disease caused by long term infection. Close liaison between hepatitis or liver specialists and Haemophilia Treatment Centres is very important for care and treatment. Research is continuing into new and improved hep C treatments and management of advanced liver disease.
We thank John and Jake for sharing their experiences with hep C – clearing the virus or being cured and caring for their liver health. Read their stories in this issue of National Haemophilia.
As a Partner in the national World Hepatitis Day Campaign, HFA works with Hepatitis Australia and State and Territory Foundations on the annual Australian awareness campaign and is committed to making a difference on hepatitis C in Australia.
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