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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