Liana Gogia, 58 years old, received a postitive result on an RDT that was administered as part of a door-to-door screening campaign. She is having blood drawn to get a confirmatory test at the Zugdidi Infectious Disease Hospital. Her family suspects she acquired HCV recently via unhygienic dental procedure.

Hepatitis

We are working to ensure that everyone who has hepatitis is diagnosed so they can access the care they need. 

350 million

people live with viral hepatitis

1 in 5

people know they have hepatitis C

1 in 10

people know they have hepatitis B

Millions of people with viral hepatitis don’t know they have it.

Over 350 million people in the world are living with viral hepatitis. Each year over a million people lose their lives because of conditions related to acute hepatitis and chronic infection that cause liver cancer and cirrhosis. Chronic hepatitis B and C infections are the leading cause of liver cancer.

Just 1 in 5 of the 58 million people living with chronic hepatitis C infection worldwide – the majority of whom live in low- and middle-income countries – have been diagnosed. In 2019, over 290,000 people died from it. Yet a cure is already widely available, at affordable prices in low- and middle-income countries.

The diagnostic gap for hepatitis B is even bigger, with only 1 in 10 people aware that they have the infection. Despite the existence of an effective vaccine, 820,000 people died of hepatitis B-related causes in 2019.

Increasing access to diagnosis for both hepatitis B and C is therefore key to meeting the WHO goal of hepatitis elimination by 2030. WHO estimates that over 30 million people living with hepatitis C will need to be diagnosed and linked to treatment by 2030 to reach the elimination targets.

Meeting the 2030 targets for hepatitis depends on improving access to diagnosis. Everyone living with the infection has a right to know their status so that they can be linked to care.

Cassandra Kelly-Cirino

Vice President, Programmes

Our hepatitis C strategy aims to expand active case-finding through the creation of targeted community screening packages, using multiplex tests as well as self-testing strategies. With our partners we are supporting decentralized, simplified, integrated services through true point-of-care confirmatory testing and liver staging, so that those who need it can be linked to treatment on the same day they are diagnosed. We are exploring the potential to replicate these approaches for hepatitis B.

Working with partners we will deliver:

  • Toolkits to facilitate the introduction of cost-effective national screening programmes
  • A true point-of-care core antigen (cAg) rapid test
  • Evidence on combination rapid tests
  • WHO-approved hepatitis C self-tests available for use, including a supporting digital patient-centred toolkit
  • Testing packages for best use and scale-up of self-testing