Health & Wellbeing

Clearing the path for Hepatitis C treatment

Hep C testing and treatment is now super simple, super safe, super manageable and super-effective.

Despite this, some people aren’t getting treated because they are running on old information about the previous interferon/ribavirin treatments.

This Hepatitis Awareness week, Monday 27 July to 2 August, is a great chance to learn more about the latest treatments. With the introduction of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) in recent years, Hep C treatment has changed for the better. People can be treated at local health services, and most don’t need to go to a Liver Clinic.

This year’s hepatitis C campaign, Clearing the Path, is aimed at not only raising awareness of DAA treatments and cure but dispelling stubborn myths that persist from the days of interferon.

DAAs have a very high cure rate – over 95% – with minimal, if any, side effects for most people. Taken as daily doses of pills, the new treatments take just 8 or 12 weeks.

“Thousands of people in NSW have already been treated and cured since March 2016, but many more living with hep C are yet to seek treatment,” Jenny Heslop, Manager North Coast HARP, said.

“Research shows that lack of information or misconceptions are the main reasons people with hep C hadn’t come forward to be treated.”

Hepatitis C is a virus that is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and can, over time, damage a person’s liver – leading to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.

Someone could be at risk of hep C if they have ever had blood-to-blood contact. Sharing injecting equipment or getting home tattoos or home piercings are the most common means of transmission.

Tens of thousands of people in NSW are living with hep C, but many do not know they have the virus. Some people do not have symptoms. Having a blood test is the only way to know if someone is living with the virus.

“Being cured of hep C can improve quality of life. Most people who have finished their course of treatment report feeling greater levels of energy and alertness,” Jenny said.

For testing or treatment for Hepatitis B or C, contact your local GP or nearest Liver Clinic.

There has never been a better time to start hep C treatment and be cured of the virus.