Welcome to HCV Advocate’s hepatitis blog. The intent of this blog is to keep our website audience up-to-date on information about hepatitis and to answer some of our web site and training audience questions. People are encouraged to submit questions and post comments.

For more information on how to use this blog
click here, the HCV drug pipeline click here, and for more information on HCV clinical trials click here

Be sure to check out our other blogs: The HBV Advocate Blog and Hepatitis & Tattoos.

Alan Franciscus
HCV Advocate
HBV Advocate

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Zealand: Global attention shifts to hepatitis

Media release from Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand 

World health leaders are turning their attention to hepatitis after New Zealand and 193 countries agreed to proactively address viral hepatitis.

The hepatitis resolution, which was unanimously approved at the 2014 World Health Assembly, calls for every country to adopt a national strategy to address viral hepatitis.

“We’re delighted the New Zealand government is committing themselves to nationally address viral hepatitis,” said John Hornell, CEO of The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand. “We’ve worked in partnership with successive governments for 30 years to address hepatitis B and we hope the next step will be a national approach to hepatitis C. New Zealand now has an opportunity to eradicate hepatitis C in our lifetime.”

The hepatitis resolution is timely. On Tuesday 22 July, The Lancet published the findings of the Global Burden of Disease Study, highlighting the positive impact of co-ordinated national approaches. The study found there was a vast improvement against the global burden of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis (TB) when governments worldwide adopted the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6. As a result, the number of deaths from HIV reduced from 1.7 million in 2005 to around 1.3 million in 2013. Viral hepatitis was not included in the MDG 6 and consequently the deaths from viral hepatitis increased by 50 per cent to 1.5 million people every year.

“The global community has worked extremely hard to tackle HIV/AIDS. The result is a plummeting death toll. Viral hepatitis in contrast has spiralled into a global epidemic,” said Charles Gore, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), in a WHA statement.

“As I’ve said before, too many lives are lost prematurely to this manageable chronic disease. If people are diagnosed early, regularly monitored, and provided appropriate education and in some cases treatment, outcomes would be different,” said Mr Hornell. “A key step to addressing viral hepatitis is through testing and early diagnosis. This was recognised at the World Health Assembly, and this is our focus for our World Hepatitis Day campaign.”

At the start of the month, The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand launched its ‘Can you say yes’ campaign, as part of a build-up to World Hepatitis Day on 28 July. Following on from its success in 2013, risk factors of hepatitis B and C have been promoted across the North Island and those at risk are encouraged to speak to their doctor or contact The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand for a free test. Promotion of World Hepatitis Day in the South Island is covered by another organisation.

Approximately 150,000 New Zealanders live with chronic hepatitis B or C, and most are unaware they have it. Viral hepatitis is the main cause of liver cancer and liver transplantation in New Zealand, however, in most cases, liver cancer is preventable if detected early.

People at risk of hepatitis B are those who are over 25 and of Māori, Pacific Island, or Asian ethnicity. Also at risk are people whose mother or close family has hepatitis B, or if they live with someone who has hepatitis B.

For hepatitis C, those at risk are people who have ever injected drugs, ever received a tattoo or body piercing using unsterile equipment, had medical attention overseas or immigrated from a high risk country, had a blood transfusion prior to 1992, have ever been in prison, or were born to a mother with hepatitis C.

The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve health outcomes for people living with chronic hepatitis B or C in New Zealand. They encourage anyone living with chronic hepatitis B or C to enrol with the Foundation for education, support and routine testing. Over 17,500 New Zealanders with chronic hepatitis B or C are enrolled in the programme, with an aim to increase to 35,000 in the next five years.

On Monday 28 July, people from all over the globe will come together to celebrate and embrace World Hepatitis Day. This day is an opportunity for all New Zealanders to learn about hepatitis and an opportunity for people to get tested if they are, or have been, at risk.

For more information, call 0800 33 20 10 or visit www.hepatitisfoundation.org.nz.

Press Release Source

Canada: Hep C affecting many Sask. Pen inmates

A significant proportion of inmates at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, a blood-borne disease that attacks the liver.

The data, provided to paNOW by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) via a Freedom of Information request, shows that over a six-year period, from 2007 to 2012, between 180 to about 260 inmates had hepatitis C infections.

For a total prison population that often sits at more than 800 inmates, the numbers show that about 25 per cent of those incarcerated at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary are affected by hepatitis C.


World Hepatitis Day, Philadelphia Hep Free (inspired by Pharrell's "Happy")

Philadelphia comes together on World Hepatitis Day 2014 to spread the message that we CAN be Hepatitis Free!!!


I just got tested today,
It was quick and painless, took my woes away,
I am so relieved and in a different space,
My suggestion to you is to do the same

Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you know what your liver does for you
Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you feel like Hepatitis is the truth
Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you know what Hep C is to you
Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you feel like getting tested is key to you

Untreated Hep can take your life away,
Don’t worry there’s treatment see your doc today,
I should probably tell you you’ll be just fine,
There is a cure and it will have you singing this line, here’s why

Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you know what your liver does for you
Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you feel like Hepatitis is the truth
Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you know what Hep C is to you
Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you feel like getting tested is key to you

(Hep C) can’t bring me down
can’t nothing, bring me down
Health is too strong to bring me down
Can't nothing, bring me down
I said bring me down
Can’t bring me down
Can’t nothing, bring me down
Health is too good to bring me down
Can't nothing, bring me down
It can’t bring me down

Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you know what your liver does for you
Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you feel like Hepatitis is the truth
Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you know what Hep C is to you
Because I'm Hep Free
Clap along if you feel like getting tested is key to you

Based on Pharrell's "Happy"

Australia: Truth about hepatitis C shared by sufferer

TABOO around hepatitis C regularly leaves patients isolated and hiding in the shadows.

Those infected often suffer in silence, fearing social rejection if friends and family were to find out.

Much of the stigma stems from the virus’s association with intravenous drugs.

Hepatitis Awareness Week starts on Monday and one former sufferer is encouraging people to come forward and start a conversation about the virus.

Read more..

Canada: Young people living on Vancouver streets particularly at risk of hepatitis C: study

Found injection drug use is a big factor

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The number of young people infected with hepatitis C on the streets of Vancouver is on the rise.

That’s according to a new study by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Dr. Scott Hadland with the Centre says drug use is the primary cause.

“When we looked at factors that were associated with developing Hepatitis C, we found that injection drug use of heroin, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine were the primary drivers of this risk profile.”


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hepatitis C testing offered - Rochester NY, Friday July 25, 2014

Trillium Health will offer free testing for hepatitis C from noon to 3 p.m. Friday at its office, 259 Monroe Ave., to raise awareness among baby boomers and African Americans.

African-Americans also have a higher risk factor, according to Dr. Linda Clark, chairman of the medical committee for the Rochester affiliate of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, which is organizing the event.

For more information, call (585) 210-4126.

Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Advice on Using DAAs for Patients With HCV/HIV Coinfection

An Interview With Douglas T. Dieterich, M.D.

Dr. Dieterich is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Liver Diseases, Director of Continuing Medical Education in the Department of Medicine, and Director of Outpatient Hepatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. He also holds appointments in the divisions of Gastroenterology and Infectious Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine. Dr. Dieterich's clinical work and research focus on HCV and HBV infection, often in people also infected with HIV. He has served on several committees of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, including the Steering Committee of the Opportunistic Infections Core Committee. A PubMed search linking his name to HCV returns 71 articles.

Mascolini: Do DAAs -- direct-acting antivirals -- work in people with HIV as well as they do in HIV-negative people?

Dieterich: Absolutely, exactly the same. It's incredible. Ever since the beginning of the DAA era in 2011, all trials in HCV/HIV-coinfected patients show that DAAs work just as well as in people infected only with HCV1,2 (Table 1). What's more interesting is that in the real world it looks like DAAs work even better in coinfected patients than they do in trials.