Researchers and people living with hepatitis B meet in Paris at the third Hepatitis B Community Forum
The Forum is an annual public awareness event co-hosted by the Hepatitis B Foundation and ICE-HBV to provide a powerful conclusion to the International HBV Meeting.
Paris, Sept. 22, 2022 – The perspectives of the almost 300 million people living with hepatitis B is critical as scientists and clinicians continue working toward hepatitis B cure and elimination, which was the focus of a special session that concluded the 2022 International HBV Meeting.
The largest global meeting focused solely on the science of hepatitis B, the HBV Meeting was held this week (Sept. 18-22) in Paris. The Community Forum provided an opportunity for the researchers, physicians and others engaged with hepatitis B to understand the needs of the greater hepatitis B community. Just as important, it allowed those living with hepatitis B to learn about the disease and progress in treatment and a cure directly from the scientists who have made this their life’s work.
This year’s Community Forum focused on the European Union, where many hurdles exist in terms of health care inequality, leading to unequal access to hepatitis B screening and treatment, health disparities, stigma and lack of prioritization to eliminate hepatitis B.
Following Marinela Debu from ELPA, the European Liver Patients’ Association, organizers and partners “call for equitable access to care in the European Union, so that when the cure comes, it benefits everyone.”
The Community Forum was co-hosted by the Hepatitis B Foundation and the International Coalition to Eliminate HBV (ICE-HBV). Foundation President Chari A. Cohen, DrPH, MPH, said: “We truly believe in the concept of ‘nothing about us without us.’ Finding a functional cure for hepatitis B will only be beneficial if we address the structural challenges already faced by people living with hepatitis B.”
Fabien Zoulim, MD, PhD, chair of ICE-HBV said, “The forum has become an integral part of the annual international meeting. Inclusion of this audience is pivotal to the success of any progress, which is why the just concluded Community Forum is an essential part of the HBV meeting.”
Findings from this year’s Community Forum highlight that, while there is much progress being made towards finding therapies that could lead to functional cure for many people living with hepatitis B, there is still much work to be done to accomplish equitable care. Improved screening systems will be required to ensure an equitable access to cure.