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Gilead launches European hep C awareness drive

Aims to highlight significance of cure through patient storytelling initiative
Committed to Cure Gloria Taliani

Dr Gloria Taliani, 'Cure Wall', Commited to Cure

A campaign to raise public awareness of the hepatitis C cure and its significance in everyday life has been launched across Europe, with the support of Gilead Sciences.

The initiative - called Committed to Cure - hopes to create a community of support spanning the continent by encouraging people living with and affected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) to share their personal experiences online.

Dr Gloria Taliani, director of the School of Tropical Medicine at Sapienza University of Rome, commented: “Patients have many questions though sometimes they don't want to ask their doctors because they're shy - but they are not shy discussing these questions with each other.

“In the waiting room we have seen patients become friends. They share their doubts, fears and optimistic feelings but also many other conditions.

“Committed to Cure is an extremely large waiting room in which patients can share feelings in a very free way.”

A 'Cure Wall' showcasing photos of people featuring the letter 'c ' accompanied by what the cure means to them has been created, with people also pledging their commitment to HCV elimination across social media channels with the hashtag #CisforCure.

Similarly the awareness drive has launched a story archive, encouraging people to submit videos sharing their experiences with HCV, with a number of the campaign's patient advocates already having submitted footage.

Educational resources and tools have been made available online, with the campaign seeking to engage with healthcare professionals and patients alike to dispel the social stigma of the blood-borne virus.

Committed to Cure was established on World Hepatitis Day (28 July) as a response to the recent pledge by WHO member states to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030 at the World Health Assembly in May this year.

Prominent HCV healthcare professionals and patient advocates have been enlisted to spearhead the project, with the Cure Coalition leadership team comprising experts in HCV from Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Dr Karsten Wursthorn, a physician and lecturer at the IFI Institute for Interdisciplinary Medicine in Hamburg, Germany, said: “This is a movement built to spread the word that there is a change in hepatitis C treatment - that there is a revolution in treatment.

“The more that people know about hepatitis C, the more people will get access to new drugs that are able to cure the disease.”

Around 185 million people worldwide - with 19 million of those living in Europe - are infected with HCV, according to WHO hepatitis C guidelines. However, many are unaware that they are infected, as symptoms of the virus often do not surface for many years.

New drugs, such as Gilead's recently approved pan-genotypic chronic HCV treatment Epclusa, are now able to offer a cure for more than 90% of people living with hepatitis C.

Article by
Rebecca Clifford

29th July 2016

From: Marketing

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