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Fighting Viral Hepatitis with Testing and Treatment

3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Hepatitis C

  1. You can be living with chronic hepatitis C for 15 years or longer without symptoms.
  2. Hepatitis C can lead to serious liver damage and is the most common reason for liver transplants.
  3. African Americans are almost twice as likely to die from hepatitis C, compared to the white population.

The most important thing to know, however, is that Hep C can be cured with new antiviral medications that have few side effects.

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), most commonly spread through sharing needles or other equipment used to inject drugs. Monday, July 25 is National African American Hepatitis C Action Day, a time to recognize the disproportionate impact of Hep C on the African American community and promote prevention, testing, and treatment. Black Americans account for about 13% of the U.S. population but 20 to 23% of diagnosed hepatitis C infections, according to a recent study published in the journal Hepatology Communications. According to the Office of Minority Health, African Americans were almost twice as likely to die from hepatitis C, compared to the white population.

Thursday, July 28, is World Hepatitis Day, when we raise awareness of the impact of viral hepatitis across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 325 million people worldwide live with hepatitis B and/or C. Hepatitis B (HBV) is the second most prevalent form of hepatitis (after hepatitis C) in the U.S., especially among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Though there is no cure for HBV, there is a vaccine that prevents infection and treatment for those infected.

HCV and HIV

People living with HIV are placed at higher risk to be affected by HCV, with roughly 25% of those living with HIV also co-infected with HCV. Many Amida Care members living with HIV also test positive for HCV. Amida Care’s pharmacy care management is especially beneficial for those who are co-infected by providing specialized, coordinated care to ensure that members get the medications and level of support they need. To date, Amida Care has helped over 1,400 members access treatment for HCV, with a 95% cure rate.

Resources and More Information

New York State has recently committed to eliminating HCV by 2030 as outlined in the New York State Hepatitis C Elimination Plan. Find out how you can participate by using the resources here.

National Black Leadership Commission on Health (NBLCH)

Office of Minority Health

Centers for Disease Control

NYC Department of Health

More facts and information about hepatitis C

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