Experts on hepatitis C will present to lawmakers next Tuesday about the disease and how to prevent its spread in the Ocean State. Their presentation comes as state officials look for ways to pay for the growing cost of hepatitis C medications.
Our months-long series about hepatitis C, "At the Crossroads: The Rise of Hepatitis C and the Fight to Stop It," has officially come to an end. We had a great public forum ("Hepatitis C: Cost, Cure, and Challenge") last night at Brown University, the audio from which is posted here, and some key takeaways from which I'll share, below.
Note: This estimate includes people not typically counted by national health surveys. The CDC estimates about 3 million Americans are infected but doesn't include people who are incarcerated, on active military duty, or in nursing homes.
We're wrapping up our months-long series about one of the greatest public health challenges facing Rhode Island: hepatitis C. Listen online or download our one-hour special: "At the Crossroads: The Rise of Hepatitis C and the Fight to Stop It."
It's sinister, this virus: hepatitis C can live in the body for decades before causing any noticeable symptoms. By then, the symptoms could be serious: at the worst, cirrhosis or liver cancer. Most people who have hepatitis C don't know it. In this case, what you don't know can hurt you, or even kill you.
A rapid hepatitis C test requires only a finger prick for a drop of blood and about a 20 minute wait to find out if you have been exposed to hepatitis C. A follow up confirmatory blood test is required to determine whether you've developed chronic hepatitis C infection.
In 2014, hundreds of Rhode Islanders died from accidental drug overdoses. Thousands more remain addicted to prescription painkillers and heroin. For those who inject the drugs, there’s another risk: hepatitis C.
In the final story in our series “At the Crossroads,” we meet a team of outreach workers determined to find new infections before it’s too late.