Note: This is a good editorial on the lack of availability of HCV treatment that hinders the dream to eliminate hepatitis C in the US. But it is going to be even more difficult now with the current administration’s proposed budget that is slated to cut $800 billion from Medicaid alone. – Alan for www.hcvadvocate.org
The United States has reached a critical point in the hepatitis C epidemic: the virus affects at least 3.5 million Americans. Chronic hepatitis C infection is now the leading cause of liver cancer and it causes more deaths than any other blood-borne infectious disease. Untreated, the virus can destroy the liver’s ability to filter blood and produce proteins that protect our bodies from infection.
Many people don’t even realize they have hepatitis C, as the infection can go for decades without causing any symptoms. People who are infected can transmit infection to others through exposure to their blood. The primary treatment for hepatitis C infection, until very recently, was interferon therapy, which requires months of treatment and is brutally toxic, and not always effective.