With the availability of direct-acting antiviral therapy, most patients with hepatitis C can be cured and hepatitis C can be eliminated as a public health threat. GPs have a crucial role in this task. In this issue, Medicine Today begins a five-part series to guide GPs through hepatitis C testing, treatment and cure in primary care.
New curative treatments for hepatitis C, known as direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), have revolutionised the management of people living with hepatitis C infection. DAA therapy is highly effective with more than 95% of patients being cured of their infection. DAAs are also very tolerable and easy to take: just one to three tablets daily for eight or 12 weeks.
The advent of DAA therapy means it is possible to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat. Australia is aiming for the elimination of hepatitis C by 2030, in line with global targets, led by the WHO and Australia’s National Hepatitis C Strategy 2018 to 2022.
GPs have a major role to play if Australia is to reach the 2030 elimination targets, as the vast majority of Australians with hepatitis C infection will be managed in primary care. Over the next five months Medicine Today will run a five-part series of articles, titled Eliminating hepatitis C, that guides GPs through hepatitis C testing, treatment and cure in primary care.
The first article in this issue – Finding your patients with hepatitis C – focuses on who to test and how to test for hepatitis C.
The second article will provide practical advice on assessing a patient diagnosed with hepatitis C before treatment. The third article will give GPs a practical guide to hepatitis C treatment.
The follow up of patients after hepatitis C treatment and cure, particularly those patients with significant liver disease, will be the focus of the fourth article. The final article will provide a series of case studies highlighting the GP experience of managing and curing hepatitis C in the community.
We hope that this series will encourage GPs around Australia to participate in the miracle of hepatitis C cure and contribute to hepatitis C elimination by 2030. MT