It’s treatable but early detection is the key
Antiviral therapy for hepatitis C can cure the infection, eliminate detectable HCV circulating after cessation of treatment or induce a sustained virological response. Treatment for hepatitis B aims to improve quality of life and survival by preventing progression of the disease to cirrhosis, decompensated cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, HCC and death. The challenge is to find people who can benefit from these treatment options. Early identification, before progression to decompensation and/or development of HCC, is strongly associated with improved treatment outcome. Hepatitis B and C are stealthy viruses that silently, asymptomatically, attack the liver. This means that people who are chronically infected often feel and perceive themselves to be healthy. This is why screening is important – to identify otherwise ‘healthy’ people through accurate diagnostic tests and to refer to specialist care for further evaluation and treatment.