Mother holding child in her arms.

HIV and Hepatitis Update - December 2018

Director's message - As 2018 is coming to a close, I would like to thank you, on behalf of WHO’s dedicated HIV and Hepatitis team, for your continued support, your inspiration, and the active collaboration during this year.

Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year 2019!

Stopping endemic hepatitis B and D in Ayacucho, Peru

Stopping endemic hepatitis B and D in Ayacucho, Peru

21 December 2018 – Child vaccination programmes are beating endemic hepatitis B in Ayacucho and a new elimination plan now seeks to address the remaining challenges around how to support people who are already chronically infected. In the coming year, testing and treatment will be expanded to other sites in Ayacucho. The elimination plan includes birth dose vaccination of newborns; prenatal testing and interventions to prevent transmission from pregnant women with HBV to their infants; and diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for chronic HBV carriers.

Key stakeholders meet in Islamabad, Pakistan to develop a course of action for hepatitis elimination in the country.

Pakistan’s investment in hepatitis may see return within years

21 December 2018 – Better use of strategic information in Pakistan is driving progress towards hepatitis elimination. An estimated 8 million people are affected by hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Pakistan (around 5% of the population), making its epidemic the second largest in the world. The good news is that HCV can be cured in more than 90% of cases using direct-acting antiviral drugs (DAAs). However, low-, middle- and high-income countries are battling to get treatment to people who are chronically infected due to drug procurement and cost challenges.

Initiating Hepatitis C treatment in Afghanistan

Initiating hepatitis C treatment in Afghanistan

5 December 2018 – Afghanistan has substantial hepatitis prevalence, particularly among injecting drug users, men and women with high risk behaviours, and refugees migrating from the neighbouring countries of Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan. From 2011 to June 2018, a total of 18 089 positive tests were reported. Between 2018–2020, it is planned to treat 20 000 affected people. WHO is providing technical support to the Ministry of Public Health to train clinicians on hepatitis C management in order to initiate treatment in the public health sector.

Hepatitis patients, Pakistan

Important new agreement on hepatitis C treatment signed

14 November 2018 – The World Health Organization (WHO) commends the new royalty-free licence agreement signed today between the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and AbbVie for for glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (G/P) – WHO’s recommended hepatitis C treatment (HCV). The licence will enable manufacturers to develop and sell generic medicines containing G/P in 99 low- and middle-income countries at affordable prices, enabling access to and treatment scale-up with the most effective pan-genotypic regimens.

Health worker at a mobile testing clinic

Standard operating procedures for enhanced reporting of cases of acute hepatitis

November 2018 – Countries require methods to measure the incidence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and to identify the risk factors that may be associated with new infections. WHO releases today a new standard operating procedure protocol for surveillance of acute hepatitis. It is designed to describe enhanced case reporting of acute viral hepatitis and provides technical guidance to differentiate between acute and chronic hepatitis for enhanced case reporting.

3 people riding bicycles through the countryside in Indonesia.

Eliminating hepatitis costs money, but saves even more

26 September 2018 – New, simpler curative therapies for hepatitis C (HCV) and the promise of better treatments and a potential cure for hepatitis B (HBV) are bringing hope and real progress in saving lives. But too few countries have rolled out newer, shorter and more effective direct-acting antiviral therapies for HCV, nor are enough people being reached with the HBV vaccine. Perceptions around the cost of hepatitis treatment may be holding back efforts to eliminate global viral hepatitis epidemics. But new tools can help countries understand the cost-saving benefits of providing treatment to those who need it.

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