A national education program would facilitate achieving the full potential of highly effective curative therapies
Less than a decade ago, formidable obstacles challenged Australians hoping to be cured of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Treatment was publicly funded only after liver damage had been detected by liver biopsy. For most people, it consisted of a year‐long, arduous course of weekly injections with pegylated interferon, which frequently caused bone pain and cytopenia, thyroid disease, and, consequently, depression. Dozens of daily supplementary tablets elicited further side effects, including haemolytic anaemia and rash. The risk of death from decompensated liver disease precluded any treatment for many with cirrhosis. Despite the toxicity and difficulty of HCV treatment, the chance of cure (that is, sustained viral response) was only 50% for most patients.1
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.