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When Will We Take Hepatitis C Seriously?

Since 2007, more people in the U.S. have died every year from hepatitis C than from HIV. That statistic does not seem to attract much, particularly from private and state insurance providers who deny treatment t their consumers.

Perhaps this fact will get their attention: In 2012 (and likely since), more Americans died from hepatitis C than from all 60 notifiable infectious conditions COMBINED. (Ly KN. Rising Mortality Associated with Hepatitis C in the United States, 2003-2013. Clin Infect Dis, 2016)

More than half of these deaths occurred to people between the ages of 55 and 64 years old. (ibid.)

If we continue on this trajectory with current hepatitis C management practices, in 2020, 560,000 patients will still remain undiagnosed and unaware of their status. According to Jagpreet Chhatwal and colleagues, “In the next 35 years, 320,000 patients will die, 157,000 will develop hepatocellular carcinoma, and 203,000 will develop decompensated cirrhosis.” (Chhatwal J. Hepatitis C Disease Burden in the United States in the Era of Oral Direct-Acting Antivirals. Hepatology, 2016)

And if this isn’t enough to turn the tide, I leave you with this picture from the CDC:

death

 

Yes, when will take hepatitis C seriously?

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