Responding to the Silent Epidemic: Hepatitis C
If not us, who? And if not now, when? –Ronald Regan
Hepatitis C (HCV), a blood-borne virus that infects the liver, is the “Silent Epidemic” that has been looming in the shadow of the opioid epidemic for more than a decade. In 2008, drug overdose became the leading cause of injury death in the United States (Paulozzi et al. 2012). A year earlier, the number of the deaths caused by HCV exceeded those caused by HIV (Ly et al. 2012). Individuals with HIV are now able to live significantly longer because of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and medications that can prevent HIV infection, yet these medications are not curative like those for HCV. Direct-acting antiretroviral (DAA) medications, taken once a day for 12 weeks, can eliminate the virus in ~95% of treated individuals. Those at great risk of HCV infection, however, may not realize the benefits of these life-sustaining medications.
For free training on hepatitis C prevention and treatment, visit the ATTC Network resource, HCV Current
Find out more about Hepatitis C Awareness Month 2020