No 198 June 2017

Hep C update

It has been welcome news to hear from Haemophilia Treatment Centres that most of their patients with hepatitis C have now been treated or have appointments with their hepatitis clinic to discuss treatment, and that nearly all of those who have completed treatment have been cured.

HEP C REMINDERS

 

KEY MESSAGES
  • Don’t wait until you have symptoms of liver disease to start treatment
  • Treating hepatitis C BEFORE you develop cirrhosis = shorter treatment course + very high success rates
  • Make sure you go back for your final results 12 weeks AFTER completing treatment
  • If you have cirrhosis and have successful treatment, you will still need to have liver health checks regularly

While the success of the new treatments has been very exciting, Australian hepatitis clinicians and Haemophilia Treatment Centres have a few reminders for people with hepatitis C:

  • Don’t wait until you have symptoms of liver disease to start treatment. Liver disease with hepatitis C can advance silently and you may not be aware that you are developing advanced liver disease such as cirrhosis or liver cancer
  • There have been good cure rates for hepatitis C treatment in people with cirrhosis – BUT treating hepatitis C BEFORE you develop cirrhosis usually means a shorter course of treatment and very high success rates
  • Make sure you go back to the doctor treating your hepatitis C or hepatitis clinic nurse for your final results 12 weeks AFTER completing treatment. This will tell you for sure whether your hep C has been cured. These treatments have not reached a 100% cure rate yet and if you have not been cured, you and your doctor will need to look at other treatment options
  • If you have cirrhosis and have successful treatment, you will still need to have liver health checks regularly to check your liver health and keep an eye out for signs of advancing liver disease or complications that can be managed.

WHAT’S STOPPING YOU FROM TREATMENT?

The Australian Government has committed to eliminating hepatitis C in Australia by 2026. We believe we can achieve this much earlier in the bleeding disorders community.

HFA is keen to make sure that every Australian with a bleeding disorder and hepatitis C has the opportunity to access treatment as soon as possible. We are aware that for some people there are barriers that stop them from accessing the new treatments.

If you or someone you know have a problem that is stopping you from accessing hepatitis C treatment, we strongly encourage you to talk to your Haemophilia Treatment Centre or your local Foundation or HFA to see what solutions can be found.

Thanks to Hepatitis Australia for permission to adapt the World Hepatitis Day 2014 poster.

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Date last reviewed: 14 June 2017