A House of Representatives Health Committee inquiry into hepatitis C
should be a catalyst that turns the tide on the rising death toll from
hepatitis C-related liver disease.
Hepatitis Australia today welcomed the announcement of an inquiry into
hepatitis C, a blood- borne virus that affects more than 230,000
Australians and will claim more than 650 lives this year alone.
”Many Parliamentarians are acutely aware of the looming tidal-wave of
serious liver disease and preventable deaths caused by a lack of regular
liver health checks and appallingly low hepatitis C treatment rates.
Today’s announcement shows real leadership by
the House of Representatives Health Committee to tackle the problem
head-on,” said CEO of Hepatitis Australia, Helen Tyrrell.
Ms Tyrrell explained that hepatitis C has long been in the shadows,
leading to an escalating burden of disease and preventable deaths.
“Shining the national spotlight on hepatitis C is long overdue and
hugely welcome,” she said.
Hepatitis Australia hopes the inquiry will set the path for 2015 to
become a turning-point in the battle against hepatitis C epidemic.
“As we saw with HIV, a broad partnership approach combined with strong
leadership by government is paramount to saving lives,” Ms Tyrrell said.
“If the new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments are made available on
the PBS they will provide a cure to more than 90 per cent of people
living with the virus. These new treatments, combined with an expansion
of cost-effective and evidence-based hepatitis
C prevention programs, provide an opportunity to make hepatitis C rare
“Ending stigma and providing supportive environments in which people
at-risk of or living with hepatitis C can access information, prevention
and treatment services is absolutely essential if we are to make
“We are at a pivotal moment in Australia’s response to the hepatitis C
epidemic. More than ever before, we have the opportunity to make
hepatitis C a rare condition in our lifetimes. This inquiry is a
critical step in seizing that opportunity,” she said.
Ms Tyrrell encouraged Australians touched by hepatitis C to speak out
and ensure members of the House of Representatives Health Committee
fully understand the need for urgent action to stop new infections and
prevent avoidable deaths.
For further information about ways people living with hepatitis C can get involved in making short or long submissions, visit
Hepatitis C in Australia
C is a blood-borne virus that is 10 times more infectious than HIV and
affects 10 times more people in Australia than HIV.
233,000 Australians are living with hepatitis C, with approximately
8,000 new diagnoses each year. Around one in six people with hepatitis C
and only a fraction of those who are diagnosed – around one per cent –
receive treatment each year. Without a significant increase in treatment
rates, Australia faces a 230 per cent increase in liver-related deaths
due to hepatitis C by 2030.
For more information about hepatitis C, visit
Media Contact: Fiona Beveridge (0405 902 826) at Ethical Strategies – 02 8904 7335.