In 2010, the 63rd World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the first resolution on viral hepatitis (WHA63.18). A new resolution will be presented at the 67th WHA.
Globally, an estimated 185 million people have been infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Since 2010, more than a million people have died from HCV, although it is treatable and curable. Nine to twelve million people have been infected since 2010, although HCV is preventable. Most new infections occur among people who inject drugs (PWID), yet access to HCV prevention tools (such as sterile injection equipment) is woefully inadequate, reaching a tiny percentage of those who need it. This shocking public health failure allows the epidemic to continue spreading.
Only a tiny fraction of people who have been infected with HCV are aware of their status. Most live in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and have no access to diagnostics, care, or treatment. Pegylated interferon (peginterferon, or PEG-IFN), the backbone of the current standard of care for HCV, is priced cruelly out of reach. Even in places where HCV treatment is available, injecting drug use is often used as a criteria for denying access: only 2-4 percent of people who inject drugs are currently receiving treatment.
We, people living with HCV, HIV/AIDS, people who use drugs and our advocates, urge United Nations Member
States to act strongly in order to tackle the hepatitis C epidemic; it is feasible!
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