New research just unveiled by the University of Pennsylvania indicates that hepatitis C is one of the nation’s most grievous and intensifying health disparities. Based on data collected in four states, the study found that nearly half of Medicaid recipients are being denied access to a cure for hepatitis C, and left to progress to end-stage – often irreversible – liver disease before they can receive life-saving treatment.
More deadly and 10 times more infectious than HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver failure and liver cancer–the fastest-rising cause of all cancer-related deaths, with more than 3.2 million Americans estimated to be living with the virus.
Until recently, hepatitis C treatments were largely ineffective at managing the disease, and caused debilitating – and sometimes even fatal – side effects that left many patients hopeless in the fight against this silent killer. Thanks to innovative treatments that offer cure rates of near 100 percent with minimal side effects, hepatitis C patients now have an unprecedented chance to live virus-free, and avoid liver failure, cancer-causing cirrhosis, liver transplants and other health impacts.