The Andrews Labor Government has set a bold goal of eliminating hepatitis B and C by 2030 with ambitious targets that exceed those set by the World Health Organization.
To mark World Hepatitis Day, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mary-Anne Thomas, today launched the Victorian Hepatitis B and C Strategies for 2016 to 2020.
The two landmark strategies are a roadmap for eliminating the burden of viral hepatitis in Victoria through prevention initiatives, more testing and treatment and reducing stigma and discrimination of the disease. It sets four ambitious targets including:
- Reducing to zero levels of stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with viral hepatitis.
- Reducing by 90 per cent the number of new hepatitis cases
- Diagnosing 90 per cent of all people living with chronic hepatitis B or C
- Providing care and treatment to 90 per cent of all people living with chronic hepatitis B or C
All Victorians with viral hepatitis are entitled to live longer, healthier lives, free from stigma and discrimination.
Our vision will see people with hepatitis, clinicians, researchers, community and peer workers come together to achieve these targets and end new transmissions and unnecessary deaths from hepatitis B and C.
In Victoria, there are an estimated 57,000 people living with hepatitis B, with only half of those aware they have the disease and just six per cent receiving treatment. About 65,000 Victorians are living with hepatitis C, but just one to three per cent of these are receiving treatment.
The Labor Government is working hard to ensure people with hepatitis C can access new life-changing medications, which are the first real hope of living free of the disease.
Meanwhile, regulatory changes by the Commonwealth Government mean treatment for hepatitis B is now more easily accessible from GPs, allowing people to better access care in their local community.
The Labor Government will continue to work with Hepatitis Victoria and other key services to deliver vital health promotion, community care and support and chronic disease management programs. We have also provided $2.2 million to address hepatitis C in prisons and $1.8 million to expand the needle and syringe program.
Quotes attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mary-Anne Thomas
“We are setting the bar high with our ambitious target to eliminate viral hepatitis in Victoria by 2030.”
“Any level of discrimination is completely unacceptable. That’s why we are working to stamp out stigma and discrimination and making people feel supported when seeking testing and treatment for hepatitis.”
Quotes attributable to Hepatitis Victoria CEO Melanie Eagle
"The Government's initiative to pursue standalone strategies represents a new era in the critical response to viral hepatitis, and will, we hope, result in significant improvement in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and ultimately, the elimination of the virus in Australia."
“We are pleased that the Andrews Government shares our collective ambition to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health concern, and is committed to battling all stigma and discrimination associated with hepatitis, and we look forward to working with the Minister to implement the strategies."
Reviewed 19 August 2020