San Francisco, CA is having success finding patients who have the hepatitis C virus and getting them into treatment, Katie Burk, MPH viral hepatitis coordinator for the San Francisco Department of Public Health reports.
In a workshop held at the 20th Annual United States Conference on AIDS in Hollywood, FL, Burk said that unlike outreach centers in many parts of the US, her city’s health department has the advantage of a generous state policy toward getting Medicaid patients into HCV treatment early. The program is coordinated with HIV testing centers and other places doing outreach.
The most important thing it has going for it is California’s policy on giving the expensive direct acting HCV antivirals to Medicaid patients. “We have unprecedented access to direct acting antivirals,” she said, “San Francisco wants to be the first city to eliminate HCV .”
End Hep C SF is a multi-sector collective impact* initiative that utilizes evidence-based practices, community wisdom, and the creative leveraging of resources to work toward hepatitis C elimination in San Francisco. San Francisco has a history of innovative and ambitious public health efforts. End Hep C SF emerges from that history to tackle an epidemic that kills more Americans than the deaths from sixty other reportable infectious diseases, including HIV, pneumococcal disease, and tuberculosis, combined.
San Francisco is impacted profoundly by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), a communicable liver disease that is a significant driver of morbidity, liver cancer, and death.
The availability of highly effective, well-tolerated oral HCV therapy gives us the remarkable ability to cure HCV in nearly all people living with the virus. We now have the tools to greatly reduce the negative health consequences of HCV, to break the cycle of forward transmission through cure as prevention, and to ultimately eliminate HCV in San Francisco.
To realize the potential of modern HCV therapy, we have established End Hep C SF. Our long-term strategic plan is to lay the foundation for HCV elimination in San Francisco through a comprehensive approach based on three pillars.