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Miriam Hospital physician advocates awareness, collaboration to combat peaking hep C virus
Date:7/24/2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Lynn E. Taylor, M.D., director of The Miriam Hospital's HIV/Viral Hepatitis Coinfection program, states in the July, 2014 Rhode Island Medical Journal special edition, "RI Defeats Hep C" that eliminating hepatitis c virus infection (hep c or HCV) is feasible, can provide economic benefits, enhance capacity to address other health challenges, and improve health care disparities. Barriers to eliminating HCV in the United States, Taylor says, include lack of funding earmarked for HCV research, sparse federal funding for HCV prevention and care, underinsured and disenfranchised populations disproportionately affected by HCV, and low reimbursement for HCV care.

More than 185 million people worldwide, 3 percent of the world's population, are living with HCV and 350,000 die each year. On July 30, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and Office of National Drug Control Policy will commemorate World Hepatitis Day, which is intended to raise awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis as a major global health threat.

"Eliminating HCV is likely going to be cost effective, but up-front resources will be needed," says Taylor, who created The Miriam's HIV/Viral Hepatitis Coinfection Program, and started Rhode Island's first free HCV testing program in 2005. "How will we build the infrastructure to get the new drugs to the people who need them? How will we utilize scientific breakthroughs to benefit those in need? Rational decision making requires change at the governmental, health systems, pharmaceutical industry and payer levels, and the crisis over the costs of direct-acting antiviral agent (DAAs) to cure hep c requires social and political action."

A liver disease resulting from chronic infection with the hepatitis c virus, HCV is the most common blood-borne infection. It is estimated that five million Americans are infected with HCV, and because symptoms may not appear for many years, more than 70 percent
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Contact: Elena Falcone-Relvas
efalconerelvas@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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