Health professionals need to raise hepatitis C awareness

Awareness of hepatitis C among health professionals and the public needs to increase if diagnosis rates are to continue to improve, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said.

Syringe (Photograph: J H Lancy/HML)

Although diagnosis rates are increasing, there are still many infected individuals who remain undiagnosed, the HPA says. The HPA highlights the importance of coverage of hepatitis C, including GP's coverage to coincide with World Hepatitis Day.

The report also stresses the role primary care can play in increasing diagnosis rates.

‘It is likely that many prevalent infections exist in individuals who have injected drugs in the past and are no longer in contact with drugs services, or in those who acquired their infections via other routes, like transfusion,' the HPA points out.

‘For this reason, targeted hepatitis C testing in primary care is also important.'

It adds: ‘Individuals diagnosed in these settings often have the advantage of more stable lifestyles that enablethem to more easily tolerate and complete anti-viral therapy to clear their infections.' 

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