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World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day is marked internationally on 28 July.
This year we celebrated World Hepatitis Day with the stories of people with haemophilia and von Willebrand disorder who have been cured of their hep C.
A NOHEP FUTURE
In 2017 the global community has come together in support of the World Health Organisation’s commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.
Imagine a future without hepatitis C.
Can we achieve this in the Australian bleeding disorders community?
I AM CURED OF HEP C
The new direct acting antiviral (DAA) hepatitis C treatments are truly revolutionary. In Australia they are available on the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule), which means they only cost as much as any prescription medication. Hepatitis and haemophilia specialists are encouraging everyone with hepatitis C to come forward for treatment.
- High cure rates - 95% overall
- Few if any side effects
- Tablets – no injections
- Shorter treatment courses – 8-24 weeks.
We are pleased to hear from Haemophilia Treatment Centres that most people with bleeding disorders have now been treated and cured of their hep C.
“I was handed the printout of results. The three words I knew would be there, were there: VIRUS NOT DETECTED. I was cured!!!!”
“Having had the new treatment and being cured has had a big impact on my quality of life. I have noticed over the last few months that I have a lot more energy. I used to go to work and then go home and feel really tired, now I get home and tinker about in the shed or whatever for a couple of hours if I feel like it.”
“I feel a lot better knowing I don’t have hepatitis C anymore. I’m going to be around a bit longer!”
I AM CURED VIDEO
What is it like to have the new treatment and be cured?
Paul and Len tell their stories in our new video - Hep C - I am cured! – https://tinyurl.com/hepc-cure
You can read their full stories at http://tinyurl.com/hepc-stories
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
- Spread the word!
- Many people with bleeding disorders were exposed to hep C. Have you ever been tested? If you used factor before 1993 – even as a baby – you could be at risk. Act now – if you don’t know whether you have hep C or not, get tested!
“If you don’t know if you have hep C, get tested. It was just a fluke thing that I found out. But if I had known earlier that I had hep C, I probably wouldn’t have cirrhosis of the liver because I could have had it treated back years ago.”
- If you have hep C, talk to your doctor about treatment that could cure your hep C.
WHAT’S STOPPING YOU FROM TREATMENT?
HFA is keen to make sure that every Australian with a bleeding disorder and hep C has the opportunity to have treatment as soon as possible. However, we are aware that some people experience barriers that stop them from accessing treatment.
- 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.
- Treatment is easy
“How difficult to take? Pop them [tablets] in your mouth at the same time each day and wash down with a glass of water.”
“The new treatment was nothing like the interferon treatments. I had one tablet a day every morning for 24 weeks.”
- Worried about side-effects?
“For the first two weeks I had some side-effects while my body got used to it: fatigue, a little bit of nausea. But after that there was nothing much; life just returned to normal. It didn’t affect my work.”
“The side effects? Nil.”
- Hard to get to the hepatitis clinic?
Talk to your hepatitis clinic or HTC about working with your local doctor. If you don’t have cirrhosis, hepatitis C treatment can now be prescribed by any doctor or nurse practitioner experienced in hepatitis C treatment, or any doctor can prescribe in liaison with a hepatitis specialist.
- If you have cirrhosis
You would need to see a hepatitis specialist for your treatment, but they can often arrange to have some of your testing done locally to minimise trips to the specialist. Having cirrhosis might mean a longer course of treatment, but cure rates are still very high.
- Is something else stopping you from getting hep C treatment?
Talk to your HTC or Foundation about solutions. Change your future today!
HFA is a Partner in the national World Hepatitis Day Campaign and works with Hepatitis Australia and State and Territory Foundations on key messages. Thanks to Hepatitis Australia for permission to adapt the 2014 World Hepatitis Day poster and to the HFA World Hepatitis Day Working Group for developing the campaign for the bleeding disorders community.
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Date last reviewed: 21 September 2017