The recent Viral Hepatitis Mapping Project National Report 2018-19 published 2020 provides information about the number of people diagnosed with hepatitis B and hepatitis C and where they live in Australia. This report is produced by the World Health Organisation with the Doherty Institute for infection and Immunity and the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Medicine (ASHM), with funding provided by the Australian Government.

Chronic Hepatitis B in Australia:

  • In 2018 it was estimated that 226,566 people were living with hepatitis B.
  • Over 72,000 people or nearly 32% of people with the infection do not know that they have it. This maybe because many people with chronic hepatitis do not show any signs or symptoms for the infection and thus don’t get blood tests to check.
  • Only 22% of those diagnosed (154,291 people) are having regular monitoring of their infection. In fact, all people with chronic hepatitis B should have check-ups at least once a year.
  • People born in Asian countries (both North and South) make up over 40% of the people who have hepatitis B in Australia.

Chronic hepatitis B in Queensland:

  • Many people with hepatitis B in Queensland have not been tested or are not having regular care. Nearly 30% of people do not know they have the infection.
  • Only 17% are having regular care with their doctor for their liver disease.
  • In the Brisbane South region only 29% and the Brisbane North region only 12.9% of people diagnosed. Other regions are lower.

Chronic hepatitis C in Australia:

  • At the end of 2018 it was estimated 130,089 people have the infection and have not been treated.
  • In Australia the treatment for hepatitis C is not expensive and can cure the virus (no more hepatitis C). Many GPs can treat hepatitis C.
  • Nearly 75% of people diagnosed are between the ages of 30 and 60 years of age.
  • It is estimated about 12% of people with hepatitis C in Australia were born overseas. (Hepatitis Australia, 2017)

Chronic hepatitis C in Queensland:

Only 35% of people with chronic hepatitis C have had treatment.

Testing for hepatitis B and C is easy. Just ask your doctor for the specific blood tests hepatitis B and C if you don’t know if you have been checked in the past. Not everyone is tested for hepatitis B or hepatitis C before they come to live in Australia

Regular monitoring for hepatitis B is very important to ensure any possible damage to the liver by hepatitis B virus can be identified early. Regular monitoring includes blood tests and ultrasounds, at least every 6-12 months depending on the person’s age and where they were born, and Fibroscan every two years if needed. Not all people require medication for the hepatitis B virus and only regular monitoring can tell if you and when a person might need it.

You can access the full report here https://ashm.org.au/programs/Viral-Hepatitis-Mapping-Project/

Contact us

ECCQ’s Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health Program can provide free Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and STIs information, resources and support in different languages:

Website: eccq.com.au/bbv

Phone: 07 3844 9166

Email: health@eccq.com.au

You can also contact our staff directly who speaks your language:

Staff Name Language we speak Phone Email
Angeline French, Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, English 0481 838 692 angelinem@eccq.com.au
Christine Acholi, Juba Arabic, Swahili, English 0479 036 383 christineo@eccq.com.au
Daniel Dinka, Arabic, Juba Arabic, English 0479 062 234 daniela@eccq.com.au
Evelyn Burmese, English 0481 827 751 evelynp@eccq.com.au
Iqbal Dari, English 0419 468 859 iqbalp@eccq.com.au
Lazaro Swahili, Kirundi, English 0479 153 742 lazarok@eccq.com.au
Samantha Chinese, English 0479 130 997 chinese@eccq.com.au
Tam Vietnamese, English 0428 223 052 vietnamese@eccq.com.au

 

If you live in Cairns, you can also contact:

HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Sexual Health Coordinator

Cairns Sexual Health Service

381 Sheridan St, Cairns North, QLD, 4870

Phone: 07 4226 4760

 

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