When the new treatments for chronic hepatitis C were released in 2016 they were touted as a game-changer. Many of us watched with cautious optimism. Would the Department of Health’s expensive gamble to eradicate hepatitis C pay off?
The fact is, the new Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) are achieving incredible results. Forget sliced-bread, this is more like Wi-Fi. Even with suboptimal treatment periods, patients treated with DAAs are achieving over 95% sustained viral response (SVR). All this with minimal side-effects.
Many Queenslanders, known to have chronic hepatitis C, have been successfully treated. However, these are just the low hanging fruit. It’s time to shimmy up the tree and collect the rest of the harvest. In our PHN region only 17% of individuals known to have hepatitis C have been treated.
And there are many more cases of chronic hepatitis C that remain undiagnosed. Now is a good time to start screening patients with risk factors for contracting hepatitis C – history of injecting drug use, previous jail time, South-East Asian and Middle-Eastern origin etc.
See HealthPathways for more information on treating chronic hepatitis C.