This is a historic moment for hepatitis C treatment. With the advent of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) we can now massively reduce the harm from an infectious disease that affects millions of people and causes hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths every year. Interferon-free DAA regimes are short, highly tolerable and simple to deliver, with cure rates of over 90%. Today, one year after the first-ever World Health Organization Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis was approved, we call on stakeholders to work together to meet the strategy´s ambitious goal of hepatitis C elimination as a public health threat.
Hepatitis C elimination will require sizeable scaling up in testing and treatment, along with comprehensive harm reduction services, including in prisons. There is an urgent need for policymakers, health care providers, health insurance providers and the pharmaceutical industry to work in collaboration with the affected communities and their organization, as well as low threshold services, to achieve this scale-up. Communities and community representatives must participate in formulating and implementing hepatitis C prevention, testing and strategies for affordable treatment because these stakeholders have unique knowledge about what will be accessible, acceptable and effective. Without their close ongoing involvement, the effort to eliminate hepatitis C is likely to fail.
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