World Hepatitis Day 2021

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day, a day to take action and raise awareness on viral hepatitis globally. The World Hepatitis Day 2021 campaign under the theme ‘Hep Can’t Wait’ reminds us that urgent action is needed to tackle viral hepatitis and reach global elimination targets.

Despite proven ways to prevent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, simpler HCV testing and diagnostic methods and curative HCV treatments, in Canada, transmission continues to occur at an alarming rate. It is estimated that over 250,000 Canadians are living with HCV, many of which are unaware of their status.  HCV disproportionally affects marginalized populations with complex and diverse needs which face stigma and discrimination when seeking healthcare services. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many of the healthcare and social services these populations receive with an increase in opioid-related deaths, and will almost certainly lead to an increase in HCV transmission setting-us back in our elimination efforts. However, the COVID-19 pandemic also presents important learning opportunities for the HCV world notably in the development of point of care and rapid testing technologies and real-time surveillance methods. It also highlights that when civil society and political will combine forces much can be achieved in very little time.

On July 28th, CanHepC will unites its voice to the World Hepatitis Day campaign. HCV elimination is at the center of our research efforts and we urge governments everywhere to make it a priority!