Gov. Bill Haslam will propose an additional $2 million a year for “updated Hepatitis C treatment standards” in his annual budget, half of what the Department of Correction requested to combat an epidemic raging behind prison walls.
“This issue with hep C is not just a Tennessee issue. It’s a nationwide issue. Based on our resources that we have available, we’re committed to doing everything we can,” Parker told The Tennessean in November.
It’s hard to believe that it’s already February 2017! That means that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so send some love to someone even if it isn’t your true Valentine. If there was ever a time when a little love is needed—it is now.
In this issue of the February 2017 HCV Advocate we have the following articles:
HealthWise – Connecting the Heart and the Liver – Lucinda K. Porter, RN. Lucinda talks about the health of these important organs. The number of people who die from heart disease annually is staggering.
SnapShots – Alan Franciscus.In this month’s column I cover three studies—deaths caused by hepatitis C among Mexican Americans, non-Hispanics Whites and non-Hispanic Blacks, the changes in the most common indications for liver transplants and transplant waitlists and finally, a study that looked at the best practice to screen people at risk (including Baby Boomers) for hepatitis C in an effort to increase screening. All three studies are very illuminating.
Coming Mid-February: Hepatitis C Drug Pipeline and Conference Coverage – The new feature will be populated by our conference coverage from 2016, from EASL and AASLD, and future conferences as well as current and future articles about drugs in development.
At a time of uncertainty for our colleagues across the world who are affected by President Donald Trump’s executive order imposing restrictions on travel to the United States, AASLD continues to focus on fostering diversity and inclusion among our members and the global hepatology community.
Our process of review and acceptance of papers in AASLD journals as well as abstracts at our meetings has never been, and will never be, influenced by country of origin. We welcome all who want to participate in our meetings and encourage all who want to join AASLD or submit to our publications.
We know preventing and curing liver diseases requires a global effort. We understand great scientific minds are located around the world, and the ability to collaborate is vital for AASLD to achieve its mission.
We join our colleagues who are concerned about the long-term effects this executive order may have on hepatology. AASLD will always be concerned about restrictions that could potentially discourage young physicians from training or practicing hepatology in the U.S., halt critical research and collaborations, and prevent the dissemination of hepatology research and education around the world.
With over 22% of our members residing outside of the United States, 43% of The Liver Meeting® attendees coming from around the world, and numerous submissions to our publications from the global research community, we know the importance of diversity among our membership and collaboration among global communities of hepatology researchers and practitioners.
AASLD continues to explore partnerships, education and research opportunities with sister societies around the globe. We are committed to supporting our colleagues who have an interest in bringing their ideas, talents and abilities to the U.S., and we are proud to be a global organization that embraces diversity in our membership, meetings, publications, awards and partnerships.
Anna S. Lok, MD, FAASLD
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF LIVER DISEASES 1001 N. FAIRFAX ST., SUITE 400, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314
Complications of advanced liver disease including cirrhosis and hepatic decompensation have risen over the past decade among people with chronic hepatitis C, according to study findings presented at the 2016 AASLD Liver Meeting in November. However, in recent years the increase has slowed, especially among those at highest risk – black people and people aged 60 and over.
Over years or decades, chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can lead to severe liver damage including cirrhosis (build-up of scar tissue), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, a type of liver cancer) and hepatic decompensation (when the liver can no longer perform its vital functions).
Successful hepatitis C treatment can slow or halt liver disease progression, but people who are treated too late, after they have already developed cirrhosis, remain at risk for HCC and end-stage liver disease.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of The Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans will have health insurance this year thanks to the ACA. One of the most important things we can do right now is to make sure Marketplace enrollment is as high as possible.
As you have likely heard, the new administration has stopped promoting healthcare.gov. The AIDS Institute has drafted the below social media to promote healthcare.gov’s open enrollment YouTube video. We ask that you join us in spreading the news as far and wide as possible via your organizational (or personal) social media accounts. Remember, the open enrollment deadline is January 31st, so time is of the essence. Below are a few sample posts.
Despite headlines, #ACA is still insuring millions this year. Don’t miss the chance to enroll by 1/31: youtu.be/odfd5qf9oiQ
Final deadline for enrollment is 1/31. Don’t miss out! Share this video & remind people to #GetCovered for 2017: youtu.be/odfd5qf9oiQ
Congress may be debating the future of health care, but you can still #GetCovered for 2017. Enroll by 1/31: youtu.be/odfd5qf9oiQ
Want to support the #ACA? Share this ad & help get as many ppl as possible enrolled in health insurance by 1/31! youtu.be/odfd5qf9oiQ
The #ACA is a lifeline for tens of thousands of ppl w/ #HIV. Help spread word that ppl can still enroll thru 1/31: youtu.be/odfd5qf9oiQ
The #ACA has given many w/ #HCV access to a cure. Share this video as a reminder enrollment is open thru 1/31: youtu.be/odfd5qf9oiQ
Sample Facebook Posts:
The 2017 Open Enrollment deadline is Tuesday, January 31! We need your help: Share this ad from Healthcare.gov to spread the word and increase #ACA enrollment! youtu.be/odfd5qf9oiQ
You can join the millions of Americans who’ve signed up for 2017 coverage under the #ACA. But, you must enroll by the January 31st deadline to #GetCovered this year. Help spread the word by sharing this video from healthcare.gov: youtu.be/odfd5qf9oiQ
Editor’s Note: This and other conditions associated with hepatitis C-in addition to the liver-related consequences of HCV disease progression- should be reason enough to treat everyone with hepatitis regardless of stage of liver disease – AF
In addition to increasing the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, researchers have found that hepatitis C virus infection is associated with an elevated risk for developing bile duct cancers and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma among US older persons, a study published in the journal Cancer has shown.1
Although previous research has established that hepatitis C virus infection causes hepatocellular carcinoma and subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, its associations with other malignancies is unknown.
To evaluate associations between hepatitis C virus infection and other cancers in the US older population, investigators analyzed Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare data from 1,623,538 adult patients aged 66 years or older who had their first cancer identified in SEER registries between 1993 and 2011 and from 200,000 cancer-free matched controls.
I want to address the recent headlines in the news that has appeared in the last couple of days. Once example is: “Are New Drugs for Hepatitis C Safe? A Report Raises Concerns.” These headlines and other stories are needlessly scary. Some patients may think twice about starting treatment or decide to skip treatment. This is not a good health care decision.
Here’s what I know from the news stories that are on the Internet:
It’s quoted that 250,000 people worldwide have been treated with the direct-acting antiviral medications (pills):
524 people have had liver failure – 524 divided by 250,000 people treated = .002 or .2%
165 people died –165 divided by 250,000 people treated = .00066 or .066%
761 people who were treated but treatment was ineffective –761 divided by 250,000 = .003 or .3%
Importantly, we do not know if the drugs caused the liver failures or deaths. Maybe a more thoughtful approach is to be more vigilant about the people being treated—both starting on and during treatment. This is even more important for people with cirrhosis.