The Scottish Government has set a target to effectively eliminate hepatitis C by 2024.
NHS Scotland will increase the number of people treated for the potentially fatal blood-borne virus to at least 2500 in 2019-20 and to at least 3000 annually from 2020-21 as part of these efforts.
Around 21,000 people are estimated to be living with hepatitis C in Scotland, a condition that causes progressive damage to the liver.
By setting an aim to eliminate the virus by 2024, Scotland will have a target six years ahead of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
WHO wants to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat – including treating 80% of those who are eligible for treatment and reducing mortality from hepatitis C infection by 65% – by 2030.
Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “Scotland has long been known as a world leader when it comes to tackling hepatitis C and this ambitious target confirms that we are still leading the way in our mission to effectively eliminate the virus by 2024 – six years ahead of the World Health Organisation’s expectations.
“Recent figures show we are exceeding our targets on the number of people we are treating for hepatitis C and it is vital that we maintain this momentum.
“We must keep getting the message out that hepatitis C can be cured with a short course of pills, and that anyone who has ever been at risk should get tested.”