Marginalised populations - Australia
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects 1.4% of the Australian population. Recent estimates suggest that 226,700 people are living with HCV in Australia, of whom 85% have been diagnosed. Approximately 10,000 new infections are reported each year in Australia: 95% of cases can be attributed to injecting drug use. In Australia, HCV-related liver disease is the most common indication for liver transplant.1
A minority of people acquire HCV via alternate modes of transmission. Many of these individuals were born overseas and may have acquired the infection via:1
- Unsterile vaccinations
- Medical procedures
- Injection treatment
- Blood product transfusion from unscreened donors
- Cultural practices such as public shaving or cupping
HCV initiatives in Australia
Unrestricted access to direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy and a diverse range of HCV models of care – including broad prescribing involvement and high coverage of harm reduction strategies for people who inject drugs (PWID) – have had a positive impact on HCV prevalence. Between 2015 and 2016, Australia witnessed a 12% fall in the prevalence of HCV – from 45% to 33% – among 2,500 PWID included in the annual Australian Needle and Syringe Programme Survey.2
A combination of micro and macro elimination projects in Australia have demonstrated that universal access to DAAs, combined with expanded screening programmes, can increase uptake of treatment and reduced the prevalence of HCV, thereby paving the way for its elimination.3–6
Gilead is proud to support elimination efforts in marginalised populations. Gilead is working with healthcare professionals to prevent HCV among PWID and those in prisons through screening support and universal access to DAAs.2–4,7
Together we’re supporting elimination in Australia to help make HCV history.2–4,7
DAA, direct-acting antiviral; HCV, hepatitis C virus; PWID, people who inject drugs
The TraP C elimination project in Iceland
Details of elimination efforts in the Arkhangai Province, Mongolia
Journey to elimination
An overview of the global ambition to eliminate viral hepatitis
- Holmes, J. Hepatitis C: An update. Available at: https://www.racgp.org.au/download/Documents/AFP/2013/July/201307holmes.pdf (accessed March 2019).
- Dore GJ and Hajarizadeh B. Elimination of Hepatitis C Virus in Australia: Laying the Foundation. Infect Dis Clin N Am 2018;32:269–279.
- Sajed N, et al. Support of Global Efforts Toward Elimination of Hepatitis C Virus. Poster #28 presented at the International Viral Hepatitis Elimination Meeting (IVHEM 2017), Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Available at: www.gilead.com/-/media/files/pdfs/other/hcv%20infographic.pdf?la=en (accessed March 2019).
- Hajarizadeh B, et al. Poster THU-134. Presented at the International Liver Congress 2018, Paris, France.
- University of New South Wales, Kirby Institute. Press release: Control and Elimination within Australia of Hepatitis C from people living with HIV (CEASE), 2018. Available at: https://kirby.unsw.edu.au/project/control-and-elimination-within-australia-hepatitis-c-people-living-hiv-cease (accessed March 2019).
- Martinello M, et al. Poster THU-404. Presented at the International Liver Congress 2018, Paris, France.
- Kwon JA, et al. Australia on track to achieve WHO HCV elimination targets following rapid initial DAA treatment uptake: A modelling study. J Viral Hepat 2018. [Epub ahead of print].
LID/IHQ/18-12//1048h(1) Date of preparation August 2019