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Three Asks for Elimination

#3AsksElimination

A focus on testing, accessible treatment and prevention will ensure we CAN eliminate hepatitis C as a public health concern in Scotland in the years to come – improving the lives of those affected by the illness and those at risk. With new medications transforming the treatment landscape there is an incredible opportunity to improve the health of Scotland’s communities.

As a group of voluntary and statutory agencies working together since 2013 under the HepCScot national awareness campaign we ask that these three priorities are considered by national and local agencies when addressing hepatitis C priorities.

 

1. Get more people diagnosed and/or into care.

Reducing the impact of hepatitis C on the health and wellbeing of individuals can only be achieved if those most at risk of harm are diagnosed and treated quickly.

2016 marked the first year where the number of people to start hepatitis C treatment was greater than the number of new diagnoses. This must be repeated consistently if we are to achieve hepatitis C elimination. This will require high and sustained rates of both diagnosis and treatment.

Of the 34,500 people in Scotland living with hepatitis C, 45% of them are undiagnosed, many of whom will face health inequalities or greater morbidity linked to issues such as mental health, drug and alcohol use. These health inequalities not only have a damaging impact on individuals’ health and wellbeing, but also act as a barrier to accessing testing and support.

It is vital that work continues to identify, test and support people into treatment, not only for those most in need but anyone who has a chronic infection.

 

2. Treat people whenever and wherever they ask.

The rolling out of treatment from centralised services to community and outreach services and primary care enables community engagement by going to where people are. Currently this occurs on an ad hoc basis across Scotland but would greatly benefit from a nation-wide approach.

People living with hepatitis C in Scotland should feel confident that they will receive equitable access to treatment. Integrating treatment and testing in community-based services enhances access, increases opportunities for peer education and support. Using peers as educators and support can also help overcome systemic and cultural barriers.

 

3. Prevention is better than a cure.

Public health disinvestment and stigmatising practices for people accessing sterile injecting equipment or opiate substitute therapy dis-empowers and puts at risk both a population and a health programme. Re-infection rates and transmission of resistant variants of virus will not be solely addressed by increasing treatment rates.

An evidenced cost-effective approach is assuring provision of low threshold, easy to access harm reduction services and education for all who require it. Such services support people in their recovery, not only from hepatitis C itself, but also from associated challenges including addiction and mental health.

 

Support our three asks by linking to this page and sharing through social media (graphics can be downloaded here).

#3AsksElimination

This campaign is a partnership in Scotland between:

Hepatitis ScotlandWaverley CareAddactionPositive HelpThe Hepatitis C Trust

Our NHS partners are:

In partnership with NHS GrampianIn partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and ClydeIn partnership with NHS LanarkshireIn partnership with NHS LothianIn partnership with NHS Forth ValleyIn partnership with NHS FifeIn partnership with MCN

Visit Hepatitis Scotland’s Service Finder

Or call NHS Inform’s Hepatitis helpline:
0800 22 44 88 (Open: 8am-10pm)