The HSE National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme highlights the new advancements in treatment for hepatitis C and is encouraging people who think they may have been at risk to get tested. Previously, many people’s experience of hepatitis C treatment included weekly injections over a year with side effects that mimic the symptoms of the flu – with less than a 50% chance of being cured. Now, Hepatitis C treatment has been transformed by new, extremely effective, tablet-only medicines with minimal side effects. These new medicines, known as direct-acting antivirals (or DAAs) are very effective drugs, curing hepatitis C in more than 95% of cases.
The HSE is promoting widespread access to new and highly effective DAAs. Under the clinical leadership of Professor Aiden McCormick, the HSE National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme aims to provide everyone in Ireland infected with hepatitis C access to free DAA medicines. To date, over 5,000 patients in Ireland have been treated with highly effective DAA’s for hepatitis C. Current data suggests that Ireland has reached the 2020 targets and is on track to achieve the 2030 WHO elimination targets. On World Hepatitis Day, the HSE appealed to those who are undiagnosed in Ireland, who may be anxious or hesitant about getting tested or treated, to come forward.
Do you think you might be at risk? More information on at-risk groups, supports, including where to get tested, can be found at www.hse.ie/hepc.
Pictured: Prof Aiden McCormick, Clinical Lead, HSE National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme, pictured with nurses Jean Flanagan and Caroline Tallon to mark World Hepatitis Day.