Hepatitis C was one of the unintended consequences of haemophilia treatment before blood products could be tested for the virus. Since the introduction of new cures for hepatitis C in 2016, most people with haemophilia in Australia have been cured of the infection.
Gavin Finkelstein is the president of Haemophilia Foundation Australia. He has lived with haemophilia for his whole life, and with hepatitis C since childhood. For World Hepatitis Day, Gavin was kind enough to tell us his story of living with coinfection and how he was cured of hepatitis C after three attempts.
In his account, Gavin said nearly all members of the bleeding disorders community in Australia have now been cured of hepatitis C, something he described as "an amazing achievement". This virtual micro-elimination, quietly achieved by an often unnoticed community, is an achievement worthy of note but, as Gavin pointed out, some members of the community still live with ongoing issues connected with liver cancer or cirrhosis.
Nonetheless, Gavin said, "Having cleared one hurdle, I can focus more on managing my haemophilia. As there is no cure for haemophilia, this is a lifelong task. But it is a much easier one without the added burden of hepatitis C."