Connie Dewbre of Texas is a 72-year-old retired administrator at a youth prison. Now cured of hepatitis C virus (HCV), she overcame many health battles along the way, including nearly dying in 2006 of complications from living long term with hep C.
For years after that near-death experience, Dewbre managed living with HCV by changing her diet as well as quitting alcohol and cigarettes. Those changes helped, but the virus continued to damage her liver.
In 2013, a hope emerged. Her son, Eric McNatt, a photographer in New York, found a website with information about new treatments for hep C that were a major improvement on the old regimens, which used interferon.
Dewbre had taken interferon in past attempts at getting cured of HCV, but she became very sick on the drug, as many people did, and had to stop using it. The new hep C therapies do not use interferon and have few side effects.
McNatt actually read about the new treatments on the Hep magazine website, HepMag.com. He convinced his mother to try getting cured of HCV again with the new drugs. Dewbre was cured in 2014 and remains in good health.
When we learned about how Dewbre got cured, we felt so humbled about her successful treatment that we just had to tell her story. We even asked McNatt to do us the honor of photographing his mom for this profile. We thank them both very much for sharing their journey with us. Click here to read more.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all baby boomers, those born between 1945 and 1965, get tested for hep C. Despite this federal guideline, this population isn’t getting tested for the virus at the levels that would make a difference for public health. Click here to find out why.
Although older people are a major subset of all those living with HCV, new cases of the virus are increasingly being diagnosed among younger people, especially those who use injection drugs. The opioid crisis is now driving hep C. Click here to learn more about how.
As a result of the opioid crisis, our health care system in general is facing new challenges. Infectious disease doctors in particular may need to reconsider their basic roles as care providers.
In addition to treating the virus, experts are coming to the conclusion that infectious disease doctors may need to start treating addiction issues directly. Click here for more information.