Since 2013, more effective drug therapies for treating hepatitis C have increased the rate at which our people are completing treatment that leads to a cure for the deadly virus. Joining a family of highly effective direct acting antiviral therapies available at ANMC is a newly licensed drug consisting of sofosbuvir and valpatasvir (Epclusa®, Gilead Sciences, Inc.). This is a fixed-dose combination tablet that covers six hepatitis C virus genotypes and is approved for use in persons with serious liver disease, most of whom had no treatment options available prior to this drug’s approval.
Through the Liver Disease and Hepatitis Program, ANTHC is currently supporting two programs to increase treatment rates for our people who are living with hepatitis C infection. First is the Hepatitis C Treatment strategic initiative, which has made the new treatment options available for the past three years. Through this initiative at ANMC, 270 patients have completed treatment with more than 95 percent completing treatment as prescribed by their provider. For patients who have completed treatment, 93 percent of them have been cured (i.e., no detectable virus in their blood, 12-weeks post-treatment completion). Statewide, outside of ANMC, more than 100 persons have received hepatitis C treatment.
Note: There is an excellent video embedded in the news story that explains the study- Alan
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 21, 2016) — With the rise in injection drug use, infectious disease has permeated through cohesive social networks in Appalachia, causing another dimension of devastation in the wake of the opioid epidemic.
About 15 years ago, a shift toward injection drug use behaviors occurred in rural Appalachia. These changes in drug use patterns signaled the potential for infiltration of blood-borne pathogens transmitted through shared needles. Increases in hepatitis C (HCV) infections have paralleled the increase in injection drug use behaviors among opioid users, with the rate of HCV infection in three Appalachian states tripling within six years.
With staggering rates of injection drug use and HCV in Appalachia, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) issued planning grants in 2016 to support researchers expediting and implementing solutions to the epidemic. Jennifer Havens, an epidemiologist in the University of Kentucky Center for Drug and Alcohol Research, was recently awarded two of the competitive planning grants to launch projects that will inform interventions and policies directed at opioid abuse across Appalachia. Havens has followed the simultaneous rise in injection drug use and HCV in Appalachia since 2004, accruing valuable data imperative for informing interventions and effective health policies.
Note: This is Georgia the European country.
Georgia’s hepatitis C elimination program, the first of its kind in the world, can provide information and experience that will assist similar goal-setting and programmatic efforts in other countries. The country of Georgia has one of the highest hepatitis C prevalence rates in the world, affecting 8% of the 3.7 million population. Georgia is the first country to take on the challenge of eliminating hepatitis C and has, as part of a comprehensive hepatitis C elimination plan, committed to treat and cure every hepatitis C-infected person in the country. In April 2015, in collaboration with CDC and other partners, Georgia embarked on a program to eliminate hepatitis C infection, subsequently defined as achieving a 90% reduction in prevalence by 2020. The initial phase of the program focused on providing free, curative HCV treatment to infected people with advanced liver disease. By April 2016, a total of 27,392 HCV-infected people registered for the program; 31% started treatment, 69% completed treatment, and 83% of those who completed treatment were cured of HCV.
MMWR News Synopsis for October 20, 2016 click here
CDC Media Relations