Welsh political leaders issue statements to mark World Hepatitis Day

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, and the leaders of the two main opposition parties in Wales have issued statements to mark World Hepatitis Day 2017, reiterating the cross-party support for eliminating hepatitis C.

Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales and leader of the Welsh Labour Party, said:

“Thanks to the major advancements in the treatment and management of hepatitis C in Wales in recent years, the elimination of the virus is now a wholly achievable goal, and one the Welsh Government is committed to achieving.

“More than 1,000 patients have been treated for hepatitis C in the last 18 months, which shows the great progress being made in Wales. Efforts are now underway to build on this progress by finding those who remain undiagnosed in order to further increase treatment numbers.

“I am delighted to mark World Hepatitis Day by reaffirming the Welsh Government’s commitment to eliminating hepatitis C by 2030.”

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:

“We can be proud of the progress that has been made in tackling hepatitis C in Wales, thanks to cross-party support for taking action. However, we cannot afford to be complacent if we are to achieve the commitment to eliminate the virus by 2030. It is essential that the Welsh Government supports efforts to find people with an undiagnosed infection of hepatitis C, as well as those diagnosed in the past who have been lost to services.

The opportunity to eliminate hepatitis C and save people from serious liver damage is one that we cannot afford to miss. World Hepatitis Day is an important moment to reaffirm our commitment to the elimination of the virus in Wales.”

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said:

“Hepatitis C is a serious public health concern, yet awareness of the virus is still too low. World Hepatitis Day is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and to encourage people to get tested.

Myths around hepatitis C are still common and raising awareness also helps to destigmatise the virus. Hepatitis C affects a whole range of people and can be contracted in a number of different ways. With new treatments for hepatitis C available which offer high cure rates and few side-effects, I hope World Hepatitis Day will lead to more patients being tested, diagnosed and cured, taking us one step closer to eliminating the virus in Wales.”