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Get Hep C tested to get cured

Get Hep C tested to get cured

Health Minister Dr David Clark is asking New Zealanders to listen up to a national campaign encouraging people to get tested for hepatitis C so that those who have the disease can be cured.

Tomorrow (Monday 25 Feb), the Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand, the Health Promotion Agency, and the Ministry of Health are launching a brand new campaign, called Get Hep C Tested to raise awareness of hepatitis C and encourage more people to get tested and treated.
“About 50,000 people in New Zealand have the chronic liver infection – roughly the number of people who live in Nelson or Invercargill, or the number of people at a sold out concert at Western Springs,” says David Clark.

“The problem is almost half of them don’t know it.

“Hep C is serious – it can rob you of your energy, it can lead to liver cancer, and it can kill you.

“You can get hep C many ways, like sharing tattoo gear, but the most common is from sharing needles. So if you have ever injected drugs, even just once a long time ago, you should get tested.

“The good news is that while treatment used to be hit and miss as well as unpleasant, we now have an effective easy cure.

“At the beginning of this month, PHARMAC began funding a new hep C treatment, Maviret, which has the potential to cure more than 99% of cases.

“The biggest issue now is finding those people who don’t know they have the disease so we can treat them, and that’s why this campaign is so timely.

"The campaign shows that hep C is widespread, people from all walks of life can have it, and most importantly, it can be treated.

“So if you have ever injected you should contact your GP and get tested,” says David Clark.

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