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Get treated and cured on Hepatitis Awareness Week

24 Jul 2019

 

People living with Hepatitis C in the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District are being encouraged to take advantage of new highly effective cures, as part of Hepatitis Awareness Week.

NSW is moving closer to eliminating Hepatitis C with research showing more than 22,000 people across the state have been cured of the virus, using new easy-to-take treatments.

Clinical Nurse Consultant, Vince Fragomeli, who treats patients free of charge at NBMLHD liver clinics, has urged anyone who believes they may be living with Hepatitis C to get tested and treated.

“Hepatitis C is curable in over 95 per cent of cases, but left untreated the blood borne virus can potentially cause severe liver damage,” says Mr Fragomeli.

“For most of our patients an 8 to 12 week course of oral medication, one tablet each day, can clear their body of Hep C and stop the virus from causing further liver damage.”

“Since early 2016 a new class of drugs to treat Hepatitis C called direct acting antivirals, provide a much more effective treatment with minimal side effects. There’s no need for injections.”

Mr Fragomeli says a blood test three months after the end of the course of treatment will confirm if it’s been successful.

Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant says NSW is moving toward the elimination of Hepatitis C.

“We’re aiming to eliminate Hepatitis C within the next 10 years,” says Dr Chant.

“Thanks to groundbreaking medications, the elimination of Hepatitis C is now an achievable goal.

Around 29 per cent of people estimated to be living with Hepatitis C in NSW or 23,652 people, have now been treated. About 58,000 people across the state are yet to seek treatment.

In the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District over 2000 people are unnecessarily living with Hepatitis C because they either don’t know they have it or they mistakenly believe treatments are still ineffective and difficult to complete.

Hepatitis Awareness Week runs from 22 July, concluding with World Hepatitis Day on 28 July. For more information on testing, treatment, and prevention for Hepatitis C call the Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 803 900 or visit hepc.org.au.

The NBMLHD’s Everybody Live Well website, has a quick and easy self-assessment tool to check if you are at risk of Hepatitis C.

The NBMLHD Liver Clinic can be contacted on 02 4734 3466