In contrast to Australia’s success with hepatitis C, our response to hepatitis B is lagging

The Conversation, October 15th, 2019

Around one-third of Australians living with hepatitis C have been cured in the last four years. Australia’s response to hepatitis C is seen as a leading example around the world, and the elimination of the disease as a major public health threat is looking like an increasingly achievable goal.

But the situation is much less promising for Australians living with hepatitis B, which is now the most common blood-borne viral infection in Australia. It affects more people than hepatitis C and HIV combined.

Hepatitis C – Peer insights on barriers and motivators to Direct-Acting Antiviral (DAA) treatment uptake

ARCSHS, 2018

The knowledge and experience of people who inject drugs (PWID) within peer programs is a vital asset to strategies for the scale-up of DAA treatment among PWID (Brown and Reeders, 2016). This study is focused on translating these “real time” peer insights into resources that support policy and programs to tailor to the needs of communities of people who inject.

This tailoring is critical to achieving the goal of eliminating hepatitis C. This broadsheet is the first of a series that will be produced over the duration of the project. This series will present current peer insights from the peer workers and other members of the people who inject community on the access to and uptake of the new hepatitis C treatment.

This broadsheet provides background to the study and presents an overview of the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of PWID related to the access and scale-up of direct acting antiviral treatment among this community.

A research project by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society in collaboration with peer-based organisations – Peer Based Harm Reduction WA, NSW Users and AIDS Association and Harm Reduction Victoria.

‘Sussing that doctor out’: Experiences of people affected by hepatitis C regarding private GPs in SA

‘Sussing that doctor out.’ Experiences and perspectives of people affected by hepatitis C regarding engagement with private general practitioners in South Australia: a qualitative study

BMC Fam Pract. 2017 Nov 29;18(1):97. doi: 10.1186/s12875-017-0669-2.

Abstract

Background: Australians with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) can access affordable Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) treatments with high cure rates (>90%), via General Practitioners (GPs). Benefits from this treatment will be maximised if people with HCV readily disclose and engage with private GPs regarding HCV-related issues. Investigating the perceptions and experiences of people affected by HCV with GPs can allow for this pathway to care for HCV to be improved.

Methods: In 2013–2014, 22 purposively sampled participants from South Australia (SA) were interviewed. They a) had contracted or were at risk of hepatitis C (n = 10), b) were key workers who had clients affected by HCV (n = 6), and c) met both a) and b) criteria (n = 6). The semi-structured interviews were recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed.

Results: People affected by HCV viewed GPs as a source of general healthcare but, due to negative experiences and perceptions, many developed a strategy of “sussing” out doctors before engaging with and disclosing to a GP regarding HCV-related issues. Participants were doubtful about the benefits of engagement and disclosure, and did not assume that they would be provided best-practice care in a non-discriminatory, non-judgemental way. They perceived risks to confidentiality and risks of changes to the care they received from GPs upon disclosure.

Conclusion: GPs may need to act in ways that counteract the perceived risks and persuade people affected by HCV of the benefits of seeking HCV-related care.

Upcoming forum – Call me by any name: the facts on meth and Hep A, B and C

SAMESH & Hepatitis SA, August 2018

Crystal? Ice? Tina? Have questions about methamphetamines?

Want to know the facts? How to look after yourself and others?

Curious about hepatitis A, B or C? Want to know more about transmission and treatment?

Come to our community forum & have your questions answered by experts.

Speakers: Gary Spence & Michelle Spudic – from Hepatitis SA

FREE EVENT

Date: 30 August 2018
Time: 6.30 PM – 8 PM
Location: SAMESH, 57 Hyde Street Adelaide

RSVP Register at samesh-enquiries@samesh.org.au
or call (08) 7099 5300

Download flyer here: CMBAN_Poster

Australia’s Annual Report Card on STIs and blood-borne viruses

Kirby Institute, Monday, 6 November 2017

Gonorrhoea and syphilis diagnoses are increasing in Australia, HIV is stable, and more than 30,000 Australians have been cured of hepatitis C, according to the latest Annual Surveillance Report on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in Australia, released today by the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney.

The latest data shows that gonorrhoea has increased by 63% over the past five years, with particular rises among young heterosexual people in major cities.

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, chlamydia and gonorrhoea rates were three and seven times higher than in the non-Indigenous population and the gaps were greater in regional and remote areas. Since 2011, there has been a resurgence of infectious syphilis among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in regional and remote areas of Northern Australia.

The report shows that HIV diagnoses have remained stable in Australia for the past five years, with 1,013 new diagnoses in 2016. However, gaps in testing remain, particularly among heterosexual people.  The report indicates that HIV diagnoses among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have increased by 39% since 2012, with a greater proportion of diagnoses due to injecting drug use and heterosexual sex, compared to non-Indigenous populations.

Between March and December 2016, an estimated 30,434 people have been cured of hepatitis C due to the availability of new direct acting antiviral therapy for hepatitis C.  The report also shows that only 63% of the estimated 230,000 people living with chronic hepatitis B in Australia by the end of 2016 were diagnosed. Of those, only 27% were having appropriate clinical monitoring tests for their infection. But a decline in hepatitis B diagnoses is evident in younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people, and newly diagnosed cases in the the non-Indigenous population remained stable.

Hepatitis C cure leads to improved quality of life

hivandhepatitis.com, 23 October 2017

 People who were cured of hepatitis C with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) had sustained improvements in their health-related quality of life, including both physical and mental health measures, according to study results presented at the 2017 AASLD Liver Meeting this week in Washington, DC.