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Alarming trend -- antiviral therapy to treat hepatitis C is declining in the US
Date:11/23/2009

) Hepatitis C Follow-Up Questionnaire. They discovered that 49% of respondents were previously unaware of their diagnosis and 24% of patients with HCV were not recommended for treatment by their physician. Approximately 9% of those surveyed did not follow up with their doctors regarding their HCV, 8% refused treatment, and only 12% received treatment. "It is concerning that half of all people with hepatitis C in the U.S. are unaware of their diagnosis," said Dr. Volk. "Even with the development of new and better medications on the horizon, such medications will have less than optimal impact unless more patients are diagnosed and referred for treatment."

The study further suggested that barriers to HCV screening may be attributed to lack of health insurance, limited access to standard medical care, and lower priority for testing by primary care doctors. "This is unfortunate," added Dr. Volk, "since young patients who don't go to the doctor often may be the best candidates for antiviral therapy." The authors conclude that increased public health efforts are needed to improve access to antiviral therapy, and recommend further research of health services delivery and quality of care for HCV patients.


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