Perhaps, but we aren’t sure. In the interferon days of hepatitis C treatment, Blacks were significantly less likely to respond to treatment. This is because the success of interferon treatment was affected by genetic differences that each of us carries. Blacks are more likely to have a less responsive genetic structure.

Data on response rates using the newer hepatitis C direct-acting antivirals show varying results. The first studies showed no differences in response rates. Then a 2018 study found that compared to whites, Blacks had 57 percent lower odds of being cured. Now a new study contradicts current guidelines regarding treatment lengths for African Americans using Harvoni.

Clearly, we need more research on this matter. April is National Minority Health Month. Click here to learn more about health issues affecting minorities, and find ways to advance health equity.