Australia has a strong policy commitment to hepatitis B and hepatitis C having signed on to both national and global elimination targets. Elimination is not a pipe dream and the whole nation will be a beneficiary from an economic, social and public health perspective.
However, there is no time to waste. At present treatment initiations for hepatitis C are sliding backwards and engagement in care for hepatitis B is woefully low. The tragedy is that Australia has gold-standard treatment and care to offer but it is not reaching people in time.
Avoidable deaths from hepatitis-related liver cancer and liver failure each year are higher than the 1994 peak of HIV deaths.
We are at a critical juncture - without immediate increased investment and action the 2022 National Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C targets will likely not be achieved and promise of elimination may fade away.
In the lead up to the 2019 Federal Election Hepatitis Australia has laid out our requests to the major parties to get us back on track. This revolves around investment for improved community education and linkage to care combined with a suite of initiatives in primary care to improve identification, testing and treatment of people with hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
We will keep you informed of responses received and hope the current trends which impact on more than 400,000 people living with chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C can be turned around quickly.
Our Election 2019 Paper (14MB) is available by clicking on the button below.