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Viral hepatitis elimination is possible

  • Almost 300,000 people in Australia are living with either hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

  • Many are unaware of their condition.

  • Hepatitis B and C are preventable diseases.

  • There is a cure for hepatitis C and effective treatment for hepatitis B.

  • Without treatment, hepatitis B and hepatitis C can cause liver disease and liver cancer.


Disease elimination depends upon societal and political commitment.

Elimination and eradication are the ultimate goals of public health. The only question is whether these goals are to be achieved in the present or some future generation.

We are in the World Health Organization’s ‘Decade for Disease Elimination’.

This decade is the countdown to achieving the disease elimination targets as outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Global Health Sector Strategies on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STIs.

The World Health Organization has defined the goal for eliminating viral hepatitis.

The elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat means achieving globally a 90 per cent reduction in new chronic infections and a 65 per cent reduction in mortality.

Australia is committed to the elimination of hepatitis B and hepatitis C as a public health threat.

Australia is one of 194 World Health Organization member states who voted unanimously to adopt the Global Hepatitis Elimination Strategy’s commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. This commitment informs our National Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander BBV/STI Strategies, and is pivotal to the design of national hepatitis 2030 elimination targets.

Australia’s progress towards elimination is a mixed bag.

The national response to hepatitis B and hepatitis C includes significant achievements (such as hepatitis B childhood vaccination coverage already exceeding 2022 targets), promising progress (such as the roll out of direct-acting antiviral medicines for hepatitis C), and areas of under-achievement (including very slow progress towards hepatitis B diagnosis, in-care, and treatment targets).

It is possible to eliminate viral hepatitis in Australia.

Hepatitis B has a vaccine and hepatitis C has a cure. With investment in hepatitis as a national health priority, elimination is possible.

The new National Hepatitis B Strategy 2023 – 2030 and the new National Hepatitis C Strategy 2023 – 2030 are world leading, and will be the last strategies published before the 2030 elimination deadline. They are currently undergoing final approvals by Australian governments before being publicly released in 2024.

These strategies are supported by the community and the sector. They appropriately centre affected communities and the community-led response and create a critical enabling environment for policies, programs and innovation that will take Australia to its 2030 elimination goal.

The 2024-2025 Federal Budget can deliver for communities affected by viral hepatitis.

With the imminent release of the national hepatitis strategies, the 2024-2025 Federal Budget comes at a critical moment for Australians living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C (viral hepatitis).

Australia has the tools and the know-how to support people affected by viral hepatitis, and also has an opportunity to invest now to do this. Hepatitis B has effective treatment and a vaccine, and hepatitis C has a cure. Both are preventable.

By making these investments we can transform the lives of Australians and show the same sort of global leadership that we have in our other blood-borne virus responses.