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Open Access
Feature Article

Foreword from the Supplement Editors

David Baker, Margaret Hellard, JOSEPH DOYLE, ALISA PEDRANA
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Abstract

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. The supplement aims 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. DAA therapy is highly effective, with more than 95% of patients being cured of their infection. DAAs are also 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.

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GPs have a major role to play if Australia is to reach the 2030 elimination target, as the vast majority of Australians with hepatitis C will be managed in primary care. This supplement brings together a series of five articles, first published in Medicine Today, that guide GPs through hepatitis C testing, treatment, cure and follow up in primary care. A list of useful online resources for GPs managing patients with hepatitis C is also included.

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The first article in the series – Finding your patients with hepatitis C – focuses on who and how to test for hepatitis C. The second article provides practical advice on assessing a patient diagnosed with hepatitis C before treatment. The third article gives GPs a practical guide to treatment with DAAs. The follow up of patients after hepatitis C treatment and cure, particularly those with significant liver disease, is the focus of the fourth article. The final article summarises practical steps GPs can follow in their practices to help eliminate hepatitis C from their local community.

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We hope that this supplement will encourage GPs around Australia to participate in the miracle of hepatitis C cure and contribute to the elimination of this disease by 2030.

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Dr David Baker is a General Practitioner at East Sydney Doctors; Senior Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, NSW; and Medical Advisor to the Australian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine. Professor Margaret Hellard is Deputy Director of the Burnet Institute; Head of Hepatitis Services at the Alfred Hospital; Adjunct Professor in Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, Monash University; and Adjunct Professor at the Doherty Institute and Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic. Dr Joseph Doyle is Deputy Program Director of Disease Elimination, Burnet Institute; Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Population Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University; and Infectious Diseases Physician at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Vic. Dr Alisa Pedrana is Senior Research Fellow at the Burnet Institute; and Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Population Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic.