Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Auckland Statement on Viral Hepatitis

Related -
The Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference
The 8th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference in Auckland is no ordinary health conference. In what is sure to be a watershed moment for people living with viral hepatitis, the Conference will release the Auckland Statement.

This Statement is an urgent call to action for parliamentarians, governments, health departments and the community at large to come together and curb avoidable deaths caused by viral hepatitis.

For the first time ever in Australia and New Zealand, clear targets are set to reduce new infections and get more people on treatment....

Hepatitis epidemic must be tackled to stop liver cancer cases doubling
THE number of new cases of liver cancer will soar in Australia over the next decade unless urgent action is taken to diagnose and treat an epidemic of viral hepatitis, experts warn. A physician with the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, Benjamin Cowie, said liver cancer cases were expected to double to about 2500 a year if more was not done to tackle the underlying causes. Hepatitis B and C were the primary causes of liver cancer, with hepatitis B the most significant single cause of cancer worldwide, after tobacco, Dr Cowie said....

Time to lift hepatitis C stigma
New Zealand Needle Exchange National Manager Charles Henderson says New Zealanders need to wake up to the fact that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can affect anyone and that stigmatising those with the disease could be doing the whole population harm.

"Discrimination against people who are already vulnerable to the effects of an illness can be a profoundly negative experience and can stop them from seeking further health care.

"When people are too scared to put their hand up for treatment, their health problems are likely to be compounded and their potential for spreading infection to others in the wider community increases. It also means opportunities to reach these people with information about how to prevent transmission become significantly limited," he says...

Liver-cancer surge spurs cash plea
Leading physicians are calling for radical improvements in dealing with the hepatitis epidemics in Australia and New Zealand to control the big increase in the number of liver cancer cases....

The Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference being held in Auckland this week will issue a statement today urging governments and health authorities to commit to doubling the number of hepatitis B and C patients receiving treatment and doing more to reduce the number of people who contract viral hepatitis.

Hepatitis B and C are the leading causes of liver cancer.

The Auckland Statement on Viral Hepatitis  

The Auckland Statement Monday 10 September 2012, 8:43AM

Media release from The Auckland Statement

Viral hepatitis is an urgent health concern needing immediate action to prevent new infections and to prevent the rising burden of cirrhosis and liver cancer - and avoidable deaths.

In Australia and New Zealand alone, there are half a million stories of people living with hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Every single day 50 more New Zealanders and Australians are diagnosed with chronic viral hepatitis and more and more people are dying from cirrhosis and liver cancer each year. We have the capacity, knowledge and tools to tackle viral hepatitis head-on. We know what needs to be done. It is time for action and that is why we are calling on parliamentarians, responsible Ministers, health departments, and others to act now to prevent new infections and prevent avoidable deaths.

Our targets by 2016, are to:

  • Halve the incidence of new hepatitis C infections by doubling the amount of new injecting equipment distributed in the general community and implementing NSPs in prisons apply consistent approaches to funding hepatitis B vaccinations for all those at greatest risk ensure at least 80% of all people living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C are diagnosed guarantee that 5% of people living with hepatitis C receive antiviral treatment each year guarantee that 10% of people living with hepatitis B receive antiviral treatment.
  • A substantial scaling up of resources and efforts is needed to stop these epidemics in their tracks - otherwise liver cancer will continue to be one of the fastest increasing causes of cancer death in Australia and New Zealand. Achieving our targets will require resolute leadership,respect for human rights, a focus on those at greatest risk and in greatest need, supportive legal frameworks and a society which tolerates diversity and does not discriminate against those at risk of, or living with viral hepatitis. Those most affected by viral hepatitis often experience significant barriers to accessing health care, these include: people who inject or have injected drugs, people born overseas in countries with widespread viral hepatitis infection, Maori, Pacific Islander, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. While these are groups most at risk of, or most affected by viral hepatitis, achieving the prevention and treatment targets in this Statement is a human rights obligation for all Australians and New Zealanders.



  • Ensure full and free access to evidence-based and effectiveviral hepatitis prevention by maximising the effectiveness ofNSPs/NEPs, removing barriers to peer distribution of injectingequipment, providing access to new injecting equipment in prisons and adequately funding peer education among peoplewho inject drugs. Access to funded hepatitis B vaccination forthose at greatest risk of infection must be improved throughinclusion in nationally consistent immunisation schemes.Improve early diagnosis and timely access to qualitytreatment, care and support for all in need by reducing thenumber of people with viral hepatitis who remain undiagnosedor unaware of how treatment can improve and extend their lives.
  • To create an effective, ethical and humane response to viralhepatitis we must enhance access to diagnosis, treatmentand care delivered in the most appropriate settings.Speed up action to improve community understanding ofviral hepatitis by ensuring information on how to avoid infectionis freely available, facilitating open discussion, engendering moresupportive community attitudes, reducing stigma and discriminationand increasing support for evidence-based public health policies.
  • Drive progress towards our targets as action and change inmany areas is required and a failure to act in any one area willhold back overall progress.

To achieve our targets we must:

  • Ensure a policy and legal environment that is focused onending the stigma and discrimination routinely experienced bythose at greatest risk of, and living with, viral hepatitis. Laws andpractices that criminalise or treat people without basic dignity orhuman rights, have no place in an effective response to viral hepatitis.
  • Acknowledge the size of the epidemics and commit to thelevel of strategic and long-term investment required to curbnew infections, increase timely access to quality treatment andcare for all in need and end the rising death toll.
  • Foster strong vision, commitment and leadership on viralhepatitis at all levels that is maintained over the long-term andstrategically focused on the areas of highest need.
  • Commit fundamentally to the principles of genuinepartnership which first and foremost requires meaningfulengagement with the people at greatest risk of, and living with, viral hepatitis to ensure an effective response. A commitment topartnership between the affected communities, governments,health and social services and researchers must underpin theagenda for action and change on viral hepatitis.

THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW! Sign on now at
There are many challenges ahead, but the time to act is now. A failure to act now would see a steadily increasing number of people infected and a rising number of deaths from liver failure and cancer.

The 8th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference calls on parliamentarians,governments, health professionals and all members of the community to accept the challenge to create an effective and humane response to viral hepatitis in full partnership with the affected communities. Sign on now and be part of our agenda to change the face of viral hepatitis. Stop new infections. Stop the rising death toll.

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