New life-saving treatment not being accessed: HepatitisWA

Stock image.
Stock image.

THOUSANDS of people living with viral hepatitis are missing out on life-saving treatment, according to HepatitisWA.

Chief executive Frank Farmer said the most likely reason is because people are unaware of new treatment options or too afraid to ask.

He spoke ahead of World Hepatitis Day, on Saturday, urging people with hepatitis B or hepatitis C to seek their doctor’s advice.

“Around 150,000 Australians living with hepatitis C are still not accessing new Government-funded curative hepatitis C treatments,” he said.

“And nearly 200,000 Australians living with hepatitis B are not accessing timely information about treatment intervention to prevent liver damage, liver cancer and liver failure.”

He said medicines for hepatitis C can cure about 95 per cent of people after three months of treatment.

More than one in three people with chronic hepatitis B remain undiagnosed and just 12 per cent of those who know they have hepatitis B are receiving antiviral treatment.

A vaccine to protect against hepatitis B is available through the National Immunisation Program.

For more information, call the HepatitisWA helpline on 08 9328 8538.