World Hepatitis Day: Wales on track to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2030
The latest report from Public Health Wales (PHW) presented on World Hepatitis Day shows significant progress in eliminating blood borne viruses (BBVs) such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV as public health issues by 2030.
Chronic Hepatitis C diagnoses have reduced by a third since 2015, with just over 300 cases reported in 2022. Concurrently, testing numbers have surpassed pre-pandemic levels with an annual testing rate of 75,000.
Since 2015, over 3,000 people in Wales have begun treatment for Hepatitis C. However, PHW experts urge more people to step forward for testing and treatment to meet the 2030 elimination goal.
Professor Daniel Thomas, Consultant Epidemiologist at PHW, emphasised the importance of World Hepatitis Day in raising awareness about Hepatitis C testing and the available effective treatment.
He encouraged at-risk individuals to utilise the free, confidential postal testing service developed by PHW.
The report also highlighted the progress in tackling Hepatitis B and HIV. Hepatitis B vaccinations are part of the NHS routine childhood immunisation programme, with Wales achieving over 95% uptake.
HIV diagnoses in Wales are the lowest among the UK nations and have halved since 2017. The wide accessibility to Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which reduces the risk of contracting HIV through sex by 99% when taken as prescribed, has significantly cut down HIV transmission in the UK.
Rachel Halford, CEO of the Hepatitis C Trust, celebrated the 12th World Hepatitis Day, acknowledging the progress towards elimination in Wales and highlighting the urgent need to reach undiagnosed individuals.
“We are fast approaching the Welsh Government’s hepatitis C elimination target dates and there is no time to waste to reach the people who remain undiagnosed.
“You can go many years before you experience any symptoms of hepatitis C but the damage the virus can do to your liver as it goes undetected can be life-threatening.”
“People can be exposed to hepatitis C a number of ways, including having a blood transfusion before the early 1990s, having medical treatment or a tattoo abroad or via injecting drugs use.” She said.
She urged anyone concerned about Hepatitis C to access a free postal testing kit or consult their GP for a Hepatitis C test.
This report signals a beacon of hope for the future, as Wales continues its steadfast approach to eliminate Hepatitis C and other BBVs by 2030. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com