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Interactive map tracks Australia’s hepatitis C progress

Australian health professionals now have access to an interactive online portal designed to track the nation’s progress in the fight against hepatitis C virus.

The resource, called Spread the Cure and supported by pharmaceutical company MSD, also aims to raise awareness of the disease.iPad_2-(003)

Users can enter a postcode or suburb to retrieve an estimate of the number of people treated in a particular area since March 2016 and compare treatment progress throughout different regions.

Professor Alex Thompson, director of gastroenterology at St Vincent's Hospital, said the past decade has seen dramatic improvements in the management of HCV.

Thompson said: “Now more than ever, it’s important that we spread the message that the majority of people living with HCV can be cured."

The launch coincided with the announcement that a new medicine, ZEPATIER (grazoprevir + elbasvir), given as a once daily tablet, would be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Hepatitis Australia said this extends treatment options for all people with genotype 1 and 4 infection.

The peak body said: “Hepatitis C treatments are continuing to evolve and improve and it is anticipated that more new hepatitis C treatments will be made available on the PBS during 2017, assisting Australia’s progress towards the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health concern.

“The challenge for 2017 is to find ways to engage everyone affected by hepatitis C in care so they can benefit from the new treatments. An estimated 40,000 people living with hepatitis are yet to be diagnosed and many thousands more will need specific community level support to feel comfortable about engaging with the healthcare system.”

Jane Fryer, business unit manager – hepatitis C and vaccines at MSD, said by joining the fight against HCV, nurses can help spread awareness, improve treatment access and enhance management.

Click below to hear more from Fryer.

Click here to access the Spread the Cure portal.

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