New York state is ramping up efforts to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030 by increasing screening, treatment and more, according to Spectrum News.


Hepatitis C (HCV) is a contagious but curable disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. HCV is a blood-borne virus that can cause lifelong infection, liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure and death.


About 2.4 million Americans are living with HCV, and nearly 2.2 million people could be living with hepatitis B, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  


By 2030, New York aims for a 90% reduction in people living with HCV and an 80% increase in people being treated and cured.


Knowing your HCV status is the first step toward treatment and a cure. While current guidelines recommend that all adults should be tested for HCV at least once, New York state recently implemented a new testing law requiring universal screening for all adults over 18 and pregnant individuals.


To increase access to testing, the state will also provide free rapid test kits to organizations serving high-risk populations, such as those who inject drugs or are homeless.


“Unfortunately, we all know that the opioid epidemic is not over,” said Brianna Norton, DO, MPH, deputy medical director of the AIDS Institute at the New York State Department of Health. “And as we have rising rates of injection drug use that coincide with rising rates of blood-borne infections and particularly hepatitis C.”


Thanks to advances in research, HCV treatment is easier and shorter than ever before, and the vast majority of people can be cured with a brief course of combination antiviral therapy. Modern direct-acting antiviral therapy usually involves one pill once daily, usually for two or three months. The medications are generally well tolerated, and more than 90% of treated people achieve a sustained virological response, meaning continued undetectable virus 12 or 24 months after completing therapy.


To deliver stigma-free care directly to those in need, New York state will fund community-based clinics, federally qualified health centers, mobile treatment vans and programs within syringe service centers and homeless shelters.


In related news, the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed National Hepatitis C Elimination Program could be a major breakthrough in access to screening, testing and treatment of HCV. Click here to read more.


To read more, click #Hepatitis C. There, you’ll find headlines such as “Most Veterans With Hepatitis C Are Successfully Treated,” “FDA Approves First Point-of-Care Hepatitis C RNA Test” and “Studying Benefits of Opt-Out Hepatitis C and HIV Testing.”