Despite promising treatments, hepatitis C continues to rise

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Despite promising treatments, hepatitis C continues to rise

Costs for treating hepatitis C might keep rising, since too few people are tested and medication prices remain high.

About twice the number of Wisconsinites are living with hepatitis C than have been diagnosed.

About 38,000 Wisconsinites have confirmed cases of the virus, according to the state Department of Health Services’ most recent figures from December 2013, though an estimated 74,000 Wisconsin residents are projected to be infected.

And that number is going up, fueled by drug users who contract the virus by sharing infected needles, according to preliminary figures to be released by the Department of Health Services later this month.

Despite the June 28 U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of Epclusa, a drug certified to treat all strains of the hepatitis C virus, and research out of Spain that calls a combined HIV and hepatitis C vaccine “a possibility,” some experts in the field aren’t confident the medical changes will lower the number of cases statewide.

Though hepatitis C is highly treatable in its early stages, most people don’t know they’re infected because the disease is highly asymptomatic, said Rob Striker, a researcher and associate professor of infectious diseases in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

“This is a real problem, not only in the country, but in the state of Wisconsin,” he said.

Read Full Article: Despite promising treatments, hepatitis C continues to rise

Read Full Article: Despite promising treatments, hepatitis C continues to rise

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