Striving towards hepatitis C elimination in the era of COVID-19 – CanHepC News
July 24, 2020
Since 2016, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) set the target to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030, numerous countries made commitments and developed action plans to attain this goal. In 2019, the Canadian Network on Hepatitis C released a blueprint to inform the hepatitis C elimination efforts in Canada, with a focus on priority populations who are most at risk from harm due to hepatitis C. These include people who use drugs, Indigenous peoples, people with experience in the prison system, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men living with HIV, and immigrants and newcomers from hepatitis C endemic countries. Recent work suggests that Canada could now be on track for hepatitis C elimination by 2030; however, this will require an ongoing focus on increasing hepatitis C prevention, testing, and treatment among priority population groups. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected members of these populations, and has aggravated existing challenges to hepatitis C control.