Study finds one-third of insured adults have access to hepatitis C treatment within 360 days of the first positive test. CDC suggests treating all eligible patients without restrictions and eliminating preauthorization requirements. For state Medicaid programs, 38 states require prior authorization and 12 states have substance use restrictions.
Hepatitis C can easily be cured with direct-acting antiviral therapy, but less than a third of people living with the virus are getting the treatment they need, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs report. What’s more, people who have health care coverage through Medicaid or Medicare are even less likely to receive timely treatment.
Less than one-third of people with hepatitis C get treatment for this potentially deadly, but curable, infection within a year of their diagnosis, a new government report warns. Spread by contact with blood from an infected person, hepatitis C is a viral disease that inflames the liver and has no symptoms at first. Left untreated, it can cause liver disease, liver cancer and death. There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C infection, but there are antiviral drugs that can cure hepatitis C in 8 to 12 weeks.
Carl Schmid, a long-time leader in the HIV advocacy world and executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute, says a national program to promote and cover the costs of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is desperately needed.
Fears about undiagnosed or untreated HIV cases in Black and Latino communities are growing in the health care community after the coronavirus pandemic led to plummeting numbers of tests for HIV and prescriptions for HIV drugs. The medical community worries that thousands of people simply put off getting tested or getting care during the pandemic.