What a crazy, crazy summer: nutty politics, all-manner of leaks, evil violence, zika and more. Time to think about HCV again, a topic and problem that now seems easier to deal with despite all the misinformation/avoidance/denial that the government puts out. Frank sends us this news from JAMA:
VA Extends New Hepatitis C Drugs to All Veterans in Its Health System (LINK). The article is free to read.
The government agency is now beginning hepatitis C antiviral therapy for 1100 patients a week—double the figure from a year ago—and hopes to increase that number to 2000 patients a week by the end of this year, said David Ross, MD, director of the VA’s HIV, hepatitis, and public health pathogens programs. At the same time, the VA is trying to screen all veterans born between 1945 and 1965, who account for more than 75% of hepatitis C infections.
The article links to a CDC press release, “Hepatitis C Kills More Americans than Any Other Infectious Disease” which states that there were 19,659 (known) HCV deaths in 2014.
JAMA notes that HCV is “the nation’s deadliest infectious disease, which kills more people in the United States than HIV, tuberculosis, pneumoccocal disease, and dozens of other infectious conditions combined.”
I didn’t know that.
Better late than never? Of course. Yet for thousands of deceased vets and their families, it is too late. For tens of thousands of “cured” veterans, there are on-going side effects–physical, economic, emotional and social–to deal with.