A symposium held at The International Liver Congress™ in London in April 2014 united stakeholders involved in the care and treatment of people with hepatitis C to demand that urgent action is taken to help eliminate the hepatitis C virus by 2030.
98% of the meeting attendees agreed that there is an opportunity to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030, and that every effort should be made to do so. The audience comprised secondary care specialists, primary care health care professionals, commissioners, drug service managers and leads, policy leads and representatives, patient organisations and pharmaceutical stakeholders.
Modelling work shows that there will be a significant long-term increase in liver disease morbidity and mortality if hepatitis C treatment rates are not increased. Radical change to current practice can avert over 5,000 liver deaths in England alone – and prevent over 1,000 liver transplants.
Prevalence and transmission of hepatitis C in people who use drugs can be reduced by scaling up hepatitis C treatment, in combination with effective opioid substitution therapy, alongside needle exchange services. Wide-spread training in dried blood spot testing including among non-healthcare professionals has been shown to help increase diagnosis rates.
Better treatment options are needed, including oral treatments with good tolerability that are more suitable for use in a community setting. Services need to be accessible, flexible and responsive to the needs of the service user. This all requires strong advocacy and support at a local commissioning level.
It is clear that there is an urgent clinical need. In the words of Professor Matthew Cramp, “we need to find more, treat more, save more” The need now is to focus political will and urgency into the care of people with hepatitis C.
1. Dr Homie Razavi
Hepatitis C disease burden – methodology
3. Professor Matthew Cramp
Hepatitis C: Impact of testing and treating
5. Dr Helen Harris / Ross Harris
The predicted impact of increasing
hepatitis C treatment
7. Dr Magdalena Harris
Best practice in wrapping services around PWUD in England
9. Councillor Victoria Borwick / Professor Graham Foster
Eliminating hepatitis C within a generation – panel discussion & debate
2. Dr Stephen Ryder
Hepatitis C, the implications of staying where
4. Professor Matt Hickman
The role of anti-viral therapy in reducing hepatitis C prevalence in people who inject drugs
6. Dr John Dillon
Best practice in wrapping services around PWUD in Scotland
8. Dr Christian Theilacker
Hepatitis C care in Switzerland: an example for an integrated model of care