Gift of Life Finally Arrives for a Quarter of a Million Australians
29 February 2016
Tuesday 1 March will be a momentous turning point for around a quarter of a million Australians.
For Amanda Geikie who has been living with hepatitis C for 30 years, the availability of the new treatments is a lifesaver.
“The new hepatitis C treatment for me means freedom, and the chance of a total cure”, says Amanda.
“It’s been difficult because of the stigma that is associated with the disease, and the discrimination that goes with that; and because of the anxiety of not knowing if, or when, the virus is going to start impacting badly on my health,” she says.
According to Melanie Eagle, CEO of Hepatitis Victoria, the move to make the new treatments available to all is literally gamechanging.
“These new therapies promise a cure rate of around 95 per cent within a few short months. The treatment regime is far simpler – daily tablets – and less toxic than the old medications,” says Ms Eagle.
Importantly access to the treatments will also be much easier. GPs will be able prescribe the new medicines, in consultation with a specialist (hepatologist, gastroenterologist or infectious diseases physician).
Hepatitis Victoria is urging everyone who has been diagnosed, as well as those who think they may have been exposed to the virus, to make contact now with their doctor, so that they can plan the best course of action.
Amanda is also keen to make sure that those living with hepatitis C take the positive step to defeat the virus
“It gives all of us living with the condition a future to look forward to. Ultimately it means an Australia that is free of hepatitis C.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas agrees.
“This is a life-changing development for the 65,000 Victorians currently living with Hepatitis C, and will mean we can work towards eliminating the hepatitis C virus within a generation.”