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Advocates Launch Hepatitis Elimination Campaign on World Hepatitis Day

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Coinciding with World Hepatitis Day on July 28, global advocates launched a new NOHep initiative to eliminate viral hepatitis -- including life-threatening chronic hepatitis B and C -- by the year 2030. To find out more, visit www.NOhep.org or follow the #NOhep hashtag on Twitter.

Globally, between 130 and 150 million people have chronic hepatitis C and as many as 350 million have chronic hepatitis B, according to the World Health Organization. Over years or decades hepatitis B or C can lead to serious liver disease including cirrhosis and liver cancer. An analysis recently published in The Lancet found that viral hepatitis is responsible for more than 1.4 million deaths annually worldwide -- mostly due to hepatitis B and C virus (HBV and HCV) -- and it was the 7th leading cause of death in 2013, exceeding HIV and tuberculosis.

Unlike HIV, hepatitis B can be prevented with an effective vaccine and hepatitis C can now be cured -- which offers the potential for eliminating these diseases as a public health threat if prevention and treatment are made widely available. But there is not yet a vaccine for hepatitis C, and while antivirals can keep HBV replication under control long-term, hepatitis B usually cannot usually be cured with existing therapies

A large proportion of people living with HBV and HCV are not even aware they are infected. While almost everyone with chronic hepatitis can be cured using well-tolerated direct-acting antivirals in interferon-free oral regimens taken for 12 weeks, treatment access is limited by the high cost of the new drugs and a shortage of well-informed healthcare providers.

Spearheaded by the World Hepatitis Alliance, NOhep is led by a working group made up of diverse organizations representing the wide range of issues related to viral hepatitis.

In 2015 the hepatitis advocacy community convened at the World Hepatitis Summit, where they called for a global movement to eliminate viral hepatitis. That year the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals included combatting viral hepatitis, and earlier this year the WHO's World Health Assembly adopted its first-ever Global Hepatitis Strategy, along with strategies to fight HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

But according to NOhep, 125 countries still do not have national strategies for managing viral hepatitis, and many more have plans in place but still need to invest heavily to meet their targets.

7/28/16

Source

NOhep. www.NOhep.org.