Unlike HIV/AIDS, which can be controlled but not cured with complex, life-long treatment, Hepatitis C can be eliminated and cured in most patients after relatively short-term treatment. Right now, treatment for Hepatitis C offers a cure for over 80 percent of patients who undergo treatment for less than 12 months.
And the outlook for those with Hepatitis C is getting better every day. New drugs are being tested that promise even higher cure rates and easier and shorter duration treatment.
But most people with Hepatitis C don't know they have the virus. A lot of these people are Baby Boomers. Many have had the virus for decades without any symptoms....and without being tested or treated. A number of these people are starting to show up at their doctors' offices with liver failure and liver cancer.
Doctors and clinics do not routinely test patients for the Hepatitis C virus. As a result, seventy-five percent of those infected with Hepatitis C do not know they have the virus.
All the tools are in place to test for, treat, and cure Hepatitis C. What's needed is increased awarenenss and funding.
We need to make elected officials and healthcare providers aware that increased Hepatitis C testing and treatment are needed now to prevent a healthcare crisis. Even people with advanced disease can be cured and saved through effective new treatments. This is a winnable battle.
Funding for testing programs is needed. Hepatitis C testing should be a part of routine medical care.
And for those found to have the virus, access to quality care is essential. Finally, patients with Hepatitis C need support to fight and triumph over the disease.
Make a resolution now to raise your voice to advocate for increased Hepatitis C testing and treatment. Find and join an advocacy group. Talk with your city, state, and national elected officials to make sure they understand the importance of this issue...and the solutions available.
Use the Fact Sheet and other Resources on our site to learn more. Contact us if you need more information.
We wish you a happy, healthy, and active year of advocacy in 2012.
Dara and Ronni