LiverWELL incorporating Hepatitis VIctoria CEO Melanie Eagle was interviewed on ABC’s Nightlife national radio program on 8 January. She talks about the hepatitis C ‘miracle cures’ available since 2016, and the possible reasons thousands of Australians are not taking up the option.
According to a Burnet Institute report, over 70,000 Australians have accessed direct acting anti-virals (DAA’s) which are highly effective and curative hepatitis C treatments. Their success rate is very high with over 95 percent cured. In addition, the DAA’s have fewer side-effects than past treatments. Despite this progress, approximately two-thirds of the estimated population living with hepatitis C in Australia -180,000 people- are yet to be cured.
“DAA’s have been available to the public unrestricted since 2016 and people can be cured with an 8-12 week treatment,” Melanie says.
So why are people not getting cured? Societal stigma surrounding hepatitis C continues to be a pervasive problem, making it difficult for people to disclose their condition to family, friends or healthcare providers.
“It’s not being spoken about for multiple reasons… but if you think you might have been exposed to infected blood, through sharing needles, unsafe tattooing etc, it is worth getting a test,” Melanie says.