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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume 28, Issue 9, Pages 481-487
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/704919
Commentary

The 3rd Canadian Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus: Expanding Care in the Interferon-Free Era

Sonya A MacParland,1 Marc Bilodeau,2 Jason Grebely,3 Julie Bruneau,4 Curtis Cooper,5 Marina Klein,6 Selena M Sagan,7 Norma Choucha,2 Louise Balfour,5 Frank Bialystok,1 Mel Krajden,8,9 Jennifer Raven,10 Eve Roberts,1 Rodney Russell,11 Michael Houghton,12 D Lorne Tyrrell,12 and Jordan J Feld1

1University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2Liver Unit, Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
3The Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia, Sydney, Australia
4Department of Family Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
5Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
6Division of Infectious Diseases, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7Department of Microbiology & Immunology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
8British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
9University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
10Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Infection and Immunity, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11Division of Biomedical Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
12Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Received 6 August 2014; Accepted 12 August 2014

Copyright © 2014 Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver. This open-access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY-NC) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits reuse, distribution and reproduction of the article, provided that the original work is properly cited and the reuse is restricted to noncommercial purposes.

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) currently infects approximately 250,000 individuals in Canada and causes more years of life lost than any other infectious disease in the country. In August 2011, new therapies were approved by Health Canada that have achieved higher response rates among those treated, but are poorly tolerated. By 2014/2015, short-course, well-tolerated treatments with cure rates >95% will be available. However, treatment uptake is poor due to structural, financial, geographical, cultural and social barriers. As such, ‘Barriers to access to HCV care in Canada’ is a crucial topic that must be addressed to decrease HCV disease burden and potentially eliminate HCV in Canada. Understanding how to better care for HCV-infected individuals requires integration across multiple disciplines including researchers, clinical services and policy makers to address the major populations affected by HCV including people who inject drugs, baby boomers, immigrants and Aboriginal and/or First Nations people. In 2012, the National CIHR Research Training Program in Hepatitis C organized the 1st Canadian Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus (CSHCV) in Montreal, Quebec. The 2nd CSHCV was held in 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia. Both symposia were highly successful, attracting leading international faculty with excellent attendance leading to dialogue and knowledge translation among attendees of diverse backgrounds. The current article summarizes the 3rd CSHCV, held February 2014, in Toronto, Ontario.