#HepCantWait, but the legacy effect of stigma and discrimination ‘doesn’t just go away’

Since late 2019, COVID-19 has been the global health crisis absorbing much of our attention. Efforts to respond to it, including the redeployment of people and resources, have necessarily had impacts on other public health programs and pandemics. The World Health Organization’s ambitious goal to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030 is one program that has been slowed and, in some places, stopped in its tracks by COVID-19.

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Life after cure – preliminary findings from the post-cure project

What does life look like for people after they have cleared hepatitis C? Do people whose blood shows no detectable amount of the hepatitis C virus need to inform their doctor or dentist about their previous hepatitis C status? What about prospective employers or insurance providers? Does hepatitis C–related stigma and discrimination remain a challenge for people post-cure? In what ways, and in what settings?

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Hepatitis C cure and ongoing challenges in post-cure lives

Australia is spending billions on the universal rollout of direct-acting antiviral drugs (DAAs) as part of its ambitious goal of achieving virtual elimination of hepatitis C by 2030. These ‘revolutionary’, ‘transformative’ drugs can bring about a sustained virological response – that is, a cure – for hepatitis C in over 90 percent of people treated. They are available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for all Australians who are covered by Medicare.

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