This post was written by Andrew Hale, MD – Infectious Disease Specialist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center and Kelly Bachiochi, MPH – Hepatitis Care Coordinator, Division of Health Surveillance at the Vermont Department of Health
Around 2.4 million people in the United States are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV), a potentially devastating liver infection that is often hard to detect due to a lack of symptoms in its early stages. In 2018 alone, nearly 800 new HCV diagnoses were made in Vermont. It is the second most frequently reported infection in Vermont and is likely vastly underreported due to low screening rates. Most new HCV infections occur in young people who inject drugs, although baby boomers still account for most HCV cases overall. Even with the development of new therapies that can cure more than 90% of chronic HCV, it is estimated that only 50% of those living with it are aware of their infection, and less than 10% of those who have been diagnosed have been cured.
Despite these discouraging statistics, we are living in a golden moment for hepatitis treatment and care. Substantial reductions in incidence and transmission can be achieved by viewing HCV treatment as prevention and increasing the number of patients who are successfully treated for HCV. With expanding screening recommendations, the existence of highly effective therapies, and newly relaxed Medicaid prescriber requirements in place, now is the time to begin turning the tide on HCV in Vermont.
To help increase HCV treatment rates in Vermont, Dr. Andrew Hale and Dr. Steven Lidofsky at UVM Medical Center created the Vermont Hepatitis C Treatment Center, an online educational tool for providers interested in learning more about HCV treatment. The aim of this resource is to provide medical professionals throughout the state of Vermont with up-to-date, easily accessible information about the management of patients at risk for or suffering from HCV infection. This tool consists of self-directed modules that can be completed on a provider’s own time and are eligible for CMEs. Visit VTHCV.org to access this exciting new resource and to learn what HCV medical management would look like for your patients.
Register for Hepatitis C Infection Clinical Education
Attend OneCare Vermont’s upcoming education session, Noontime Knowledge: Hepatitis C Infection presented by Andrew Hale, MD – Infectious Disease Specialist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session participants will be able to:
- Understand Hepatitis C Infection rates in the U.S. and Vermont
- Identification of at-risk populations and appropriate screening methods implementing the HCV screening algorithm
- Implementation and awareness of appropriate care pathways for those testing positive for Hepatitis C