UKHSA data reveals 70,649 people living with hepatitis C in England in 2022, marking a 45% decrease since 2015.
- The latest data published by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reveals an estimated 70,649 people living with hepatitis C in England in 2022, marking a 45% decrease since 2015.
- NHS England’s national elimination programme has successfully treated more than 80,000 people since 2015, surpassing the number of individuals left to treat.
- Over 80% of those treated are from the most deprived areas in England, addressing health inequalities.
- Eliminating hepatitis C and hepatitis B is a key priority for UKHSA and NHS England to meet the World Health Organization’s elimination target by 2030.
Understanding Hepatitis C and its Spread:
Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that can cause life-threatening liver disease, including cancer. The virus spreads through blood-to-blood contact, commonly through sharing contaminated needles, razors, or toothbrushes. People born in countries with higher prevalence or those who have had medical treatments abroad are also at risk.
Challenges and Progress:
Though significant progress has been made in diagnosis and treatment, data from UKHSA highlights that a small number of successfully treated individuals become re-infected with the virus, emphasizing the need to maintain prevention services.
Efforts to Combat Hepatitis C:
UKHSA is collaborating with partners, including regional operational delivery networks (ODNs), to streamline data and focus on finding and treating remaining cases of hepatitis C.
Quotes from Experts:
Dr Sema Mandal, Deputy Director, Blood Borne Viruses at UKHSA, said: “Hepatitis C treatment has improved dramatically over recent years, but we need to identify people with the infection early to keep on track with elimination by 2030.”
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director, said: “Finding and treating more than 80,000 people as part of our hepatitis C elimination programme is a huge achievement and I’m delighted that we remain on track to eliminate the virus as a public health concern by 2030.”
Health minister, Will Quince said: “The data speaks for itself. We are making huge headway in eliminating hepatitis C, with England on track to be one of the first countries in the world to do so.”
Rachel Halford, CEO of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: “The progress towards hepatitis C elimination in England is extraordinary and demonstrates the importance of collaboration between affected communities, government, and healthcare professionals in order to achieve success.”
Get Tested and Treated:
Free and confidential online testing kits are available from the NHS for anyone in England concerned about hepatitis C. If you believe you may be at risk, get tested, get treated, and get cured.
UKHSA’s Strategy to Eliminate Hepatitis C:
- Enhance the evidence base, surveillance, and evaluation of public health interventions on blood-borne viruses.
- Improve understanding of why people acquire new infections or reinfections and are not retained in care.
- Reduce health inequalities around blood-borne viruses through improved understanding and targeted testing and treating initiatives.
UK Health Security Agency Press Office
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