July 29, 2019
Hepatitis cure worth the test
It was World Hepatitis Day over the weekend, but many of those affected by the disease would not have known it applied to them.
Sue Paton from Dapaanz, the Addiction Practitioners’ Association, says most people with the disease are undiagnosed, including many Māori.
While it is often associated with intravenous drug use, people may also have the hepatitis c strain from blood transfusions before 1992 or overseas, or from tattoos or piercings from unsterilised equipment.
She says people can live with it for years with no symptoms, and then start feeling very tired and unwell – so it’s worth asking for the test which will give access to the new types of drugs.
"The old drugs, Interferon, weren't so effective. At least 50 percent of people weren't cured and they had really drastic side effects. People got depressed, some committed suicide, they were really terrible, but this new drug has virtually no side effects and nearly 100 percent chance of being cured," Ms Paton says.
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