For Immediate Release
Malaysian AIDS Council launches #MYXHEPC campaign online portal to eliminate Hepatitis C
KUALA LUMPUR, 22 February 2018 – #MYXHEPC, a coalition of public health activists and volunteers working together towards the elimination of Hepatitis C in Malaysia, marked another milestone today with the launch of its official campaign website, myxhepc.com.
Mobilised by the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) in partnership with Artsee Networks, an ‘arts-in-activism’ initiative, the #MYXHEPC campaign first came alive on World Hepatitis Day (28 July) last year, bringing to attention the growing public health threat of Hepatitis C that is estimated to affect 2.5 per cent of the general population, or anywhere between 435,000 and 500,000 people, in Malaysia.
A common co-infection with HIV particularly among people who inject drugs, Hepatitis C remains largely hidden and undiagnosed due to lack of knowledge, limited access to diagnostic tools and high treatment costs.
The prevalence of Hepatitis C among people who inject drugs in Malaysia is estimated at 50 to 67 per cent.
“#MYXHEPC is a call to action for Malaysians to come together and break the silence around Hepatitis C,” said Bakhtiar Talhah, President, MAC.
“Young people especially are encouraged to take part in the #MYXHEPC Clever New Media Festival which is centred around social media and other creative digital content.”
The Festival comprises on-campus talks, film screenings, workshops and weekly online quizzes. It culminates in design and video contests, ending 16 March 2018, with prizes up to RM10,000.
The #MYXHEPC campaign also comes at a critical juncture when the Ministry of Health Malaysia recently announced its decision to invoke compulsory licensing for the hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir, which until recently patients would have had to spend an average of RM300,000 for the full regimen.
For this bold move, which is a world first, the Ministry was duly recognised with the Leadership Award on Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines 2018 at the Global Summit on Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines in Marrakech, Morocco last month.
“Hepatitis C is a highly preventable disease, and thanks to the leadership of the Ministry of Health Malaysia on compulsory licensing, treatment and cure are now within reach as well. However, eliminating Hepatitis C begins with education and empowerment, and this is what we hope to achieve through #MYXHEPC,” Bakhtiar added.
To join the #MYXHEPC conversation, logon on to myxhepc.com or look out for the #MYXHEPC hashtag on social media.
About Malaysian AIDS Council
The Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) was established in 1992 to serve as an umbrella organisation to support and coordinate the efforts of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on HIV and AIDS issues in Malaysia. MAC works in close partnership with government agencies, the private sector and international organisations, to ensure a committed and effective NGO-led response to the HIV epidemic. In addition to providing nationwide coverage of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services, MAC and its Partner Organisations serve as the common voice for communities most affected by HIV and AIDS in the country. Learn more at www.mac.org.my.