As representatives from ELPA member organizations, on behalf of those affected by and at risk of hepatitis C we demand that hepatitis testing is given the importance it deserves in such that the Hepatitis testing week be a separate event from European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week and moved to the week of May 19th (the original World Hepatitis day).
World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognized the growing burden of viral hepatitis and organizes World Hepatitis Day on 28th July every year to increase awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis. According to WHO Key messages for World Hepatitis Day 2017:
„By the end of 2015, only 9% of HBV-infected people and 20% of HCV-infected people had been tested and diagnosed. Of those diagnosed with HBV infection, 8% (or 1.7 million people) were on treatment, while 7% of those diagnosed with HCV infection (or 1.1 million people) had started treatment in 2015.
The global targets for 2030 are: 90% of people with HBV and HCV infections tested and 80% of eligible patients are reached with treatment. “
WHO report estimated that 257 million people were living with hepatitis B (HBV) infection, and 71 million people were living with hepatitis C (HCV) infection worldwide in 2015.
WHO Key messages from World Hepatitis Day 2017
1. Viral hepatitis is a major global health problem and needs an urgent response.
2. Very few of those infected accessed testing and treatment, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
3. Viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015 - comparable with TB deaths and exceeding deaths from HIV. Hepatitis deaths are increasing.
4. New hepatitis infections continue to occur, mostly hepatitis C.
5. Achieving the 2030 elimination goal is not overly ambitious; reports from 28 high-burden countries give cause for optimism.
As every patients voice is important and deserving the equal right to be heard we should use all opportunities to add momentum to implementation of the WHO's first global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis for 2016-2021 and help Member States achieve the final goal - to eliminate hepatitis by 2030.
In order to better point out the importance and the impact HIV and Hepatitis have on the society it would be beneficial that European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week is separated in two events in order to allow each of these conditions the attention they need to reach and inform their own specific population.