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Tuesday 28 July 2021
Every 30 seconds, someone loses their life to hepatitis.
The global theme this World Hepatitis Day is “Hep Can’t Wait” asking people not to delay testing and treatment.
Hepatitis is the inflammation that occurs in the liver which can lead to serious liver damage or even liver cancer.
There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common which result in 1.1 million deaths and 3 million new infections per year.
Austin Health’s Liver Transplant Unit has found that 84 per cent of all liver transplants are preventable, with the vast majority being due to Hepatitis B and C. Unfortunately, liver cancer is the most rapidly rising cancer in Australia and this is largely due to viral hepatitis.
“Awareness, prevention, appropriate surveillance and management is the key for Hepatitis B. There is a highly effective vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B and well tolerated treatments if you have Hepatitis B,” says Gastroenterologist, Chris Leung.
Who should get tested for Hepatitis B?
“Hepatitis C is curable. Our outreach program provides rapid access to treatment, which consists of 1-3 tablets a day, for 8-12 weeks, and achieves a 98 per cent cure rate with minimal to no side effects,” says Sam Dickson, Hepatitis C Outreach, Clinical Nurse Consultant.
“Treatment is recommended for all patients with Hepatitis C infection regardless of previous treatment history."
Who should get tested for Hepatitis C?
Everyone should be tested for hepatitis C, even those without symptoms or known liver disease. Testing for Hepatitis C is especially important if you:
People with an ongoing risk of exposure should have a yearly Hepatitis C testing.
Tests for hepatitis C are not part of regular blood tests, you must ask your GP or specialist to test for it.
For hepatitis testing and referral to a specialist service, speak to your GP.
To access our Hepatitis C Outreach, Rapid Access to Treatment Clinic, please ask your GP to refer you or call 0481 909 741 or email Livernurses@austin.org.au