A year has passed since the first Hepatitis Awareness month. In this year, I have witnessed slow, but real progress, especially in the arenas of social and political activism, and in drug development. Two areas that are slow to catch up are hepatitis C screening and adequate health services for everyone, especially the poor or under-insured.
A year from now, the Affordable Care Act will be five months old, and we will begin to see its effect on hepatitis C services. The FDA will have ruled on a few new hepatitis C drugs, bringing interferon-free treatment closer to reality. The U.S. Preventative Services Taskforce (USPSTF) will have made its recommendations regarding hepatitis C screening. It would be wonderful to see a “B” rating.
Here is what I want in the next five years:
- Oral rapid-result testing for hepatitis C
- Substantial increase in hepatitis C screening for at risk individual
- Inclusion of hepatitis C testing for Baby Boomers in Medicare plans
- HCV treatment with minimal side effects for everyone
- Fewer liver transplants because hepatitis C is managed before it causes cirrhosis
- Compassionate, affordable, and effective healthcare for everyone
- Major viral hepatitis awareness campaign that is so effective I am out of a job
- No stigma for hepatitis C