Routine testing for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection—still not part conducted by many providers—is critical to reduce the prevalence and eliminate the disease, according to a new report.
“The disease is symptomatic in most people, even while the virus is doing damage to a person's liver, so most patients will not have reason to seek treatment. There is an effective, curative drug treatment, direct-acting antivirals, available that is highly tolerated by most, unlike HCV treatments of the past. There is no reason for patients to suffer the health consequences of a prolonged infection anymore,” report co-author Sonia Canzater, JD, MPH, associate at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University told Medical Economics.
The report was published on June 14.
The HCV report draws on insights from thought leaders, administrators and healthcare practitioners to identify capacity and needs related to data on the HCV epidemic. It identifies five critical actions that should be priorities for monitoring HCV:
· Expand and standardize reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
· Utilize electronic health records to collect data on HCV cases and the cure cascade
· Fund epidemiologic research using clinical data sets
· Integrate improved monitoring of HCV with responses to the opioid epidemic
· Establish and monitor HCV elimination plans across major U.S. health systems