"We have drugs now that used to take one pill to several pills a day for 2-3 months, you can cure 95% of people living with hepatitis C. The issue is getting those persons identified who are living with this silent infection."
At the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2017) in Seattle, Washington, John W. Ward, MD, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discussed evidence supporting the fact that the hepatitis C virus can, indeed, be eliminated in the United States by 2030.
"We have drugs now that used to take one pill to several pills a day for two to three months, you can cure 95% of people living with hepatitis C. The issue is getting those persons identified who are living with this silent infection," said Ward. He shared that half don't know their status among the 3.5 million people living with hepatitis C in the country, so the first order of business is getting them tested, made aware of their infection, then referred to a specialist.
Ward and his team are particularly interested in baby boomers (people born between 1945 and 1965). They have a six times higher risk of having this virus than other adults, because they were young adults before the virus was discovered and before prevention measures were in place. Ward highlighted that now 70% of them have moderate-to-severe liver disease - many of them are unaware of it. "We really want to send a strong message out that all providers who have baby boomers in their practice should provide this test to them.