According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 3.5 million people in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis C infection, and most are unaware that they are infected. This recent surge in Hep C cases is a result in increasing injection drug use, primarily from sharing or using dirty needles, or blood to blood contact with a person who is infected. As many States have been tackling the recent heroin and opioid problem sweeping the nation, one in particular has been hit hardest. West Virginia has seen a grave economic decline, which is believed to be a factor in the evident increase in heroin or drug use throughout the State, as well as neighboring Southern States. And now this opioid problem has turned to a wide spread Hepatitis C infection hitting many of these economically communities, impacting the State’s already strained medical resources. VICE traveled to the community of Huntington, West Virginia to see first hand those who have been infected, those who have been cured, and those who are trying to help stop this ongoing national health epidemic.
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