Making hepatitis C history

He Ako Hiringa
1 February 2024

Making hepatitis C history

Chronic hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma and dramatically reduced life expectancy.1,2 Of the estimated 30,000 people living with chronic hepatitis C in Aotearoa, up to 40% are unaware they have it. The highest prevalence is in people who inject drugs, but infection can occur from a single exposure incident in someone’s past and they may remain asymptomatic for decades.

Oral antiviral treatment can achieve >98% cure rate3 but patients first need to be identified by screening for HCV antibodies and/or a diagnostic PCR assay. Placing information in waiting areas about risk factors and the simple treatment for hepatitis C may encourage people to present for testing.

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  1. World Health Organization. Hepatitis C (fact sheet). 18 July 2023.
  2. Pinchoff J, Drobnik A, Bornschlegel K, et al. Deaths among people with hepatitis C in New York City, 2000-2011. Clin Infect Dis 2014 Apr;58(8):1047–54. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciu075.
  3. Pharmac. Decision to fund a new hepatitis C treatment (Maviret) and to widen access to adalimumab (Humira) for psoriasis. 18 December 2018.