May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and encourage people to get tested. Additionally, New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute has designated May 25th as Hepatitis C (HCV) Cure Day, an annual event to celebrate those cured of hepatitis C and to motivate those living with HCV to initiate and complete treatment. New York has committed to eliminating HCV by 2030 as outlined in the New York State Hepatitis C Elimination Plan.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that is spread when blood from a person with the virus comes into contact with another person’s blood, most commonly through sharing needles or other equipment used to inject drugs. For many those who become infected with the virus, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection, which can result in serious, sometimes life-threatening health problems. Because there are often no symptoms, many people who have HCV are unaware that they are infected. Though there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, new antiviral medications can cure the virus with few side effects.
People living with HIV are at higher risk to be affected by HCV, with roughly 25% of those with HIV co-infected with HCV. Amida Care has helped over 1,400 members access treatment for HCV, with a 95% cure rate. Amida Care pharmacists work closely with members to ensure that there are no adverse side effects or potential negative interactions of multiple prescriptions, while helping to streamline the administrative processes for providers.
The first step in eliminating HCV is making sure that anyone at risk gets tested and gets treatment as soon as possible. Let’s help make Hep C a thing of the past in New York!