Leaders of liver disease associations from Europe, the United States, Latin America and Asia issued a global call to action at the AASLD Liver Meeting this week in Boston, aiming to advance toward the goal of eliminating hepatitis C as a public health threat.
The new statement, signed by representatives of AASLD, the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), the Latin American Association for the Study of the Liver (ALEH) and the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL), calls for efforts to simplify HCV testing and treatment in order to make them more widely available, especially in resource-limited settings.
The four associations, which are undertaking this initiative in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), outlined four strategies to achieve this goal:
- Simplifying diagnosis and treatment algorithms
- Integrating hepatitis C treatment into primary care and other disease programmes
- Decentralising HCV services to the local level
- Task-sharing with primary care clinicians and other health care practitioners.
These strategies are made possible by recent advances in the field, including:
- Rapid HCV antibody screening and confirmatory viral load testing that can be done at a single clinical visit, and
- direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) that are highly effective and well tolerated and, most recently, new pan-genotypic DAAs that make genotypic testing unnecessary..