Prison inmates face challenges in getting treated for hepatitis C.
Johanna Hudnall is fighting to get treated for a disease she’s had for two decades.
The 51-year-old female inmate in Nevada’s Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center says she isn’t getting the treatment she needs to battle hepatitis C, a disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Hudnall is frustrated because in recent years drugs have emerged that have a high rate of successfully curing people of hepatitis C, which can lead to liver failure.
So far, she’s been unable to access that care as a Nevada inmate.
“It’s kind of scary to see and feel and watch my body change because of something they won’t help me with,” she said. “I’m frustrated with it.”
Her situation reflects what advocates and academics say is a widespread pattern throughout the U.S. of inmates facing challenges in getting treated for hepatitis C with effective but expensive drugs. Nevada’s prisons, like many others in the U.S., don’t automatically test all new inmates entering the system for the disease, though they do test for HIV. In Hudnall’s case, she was diagnosed before arriving in the Nevada system.
Hudnall was sent to the Nevada Department of Corrections after her conviction in California in 2003 on seven counts of residential burglary, forgery and possession of a controlled substance. She was sent to Nevada because she had been sexually assaulted by a California prison employee when serving a prior sentence. The assault is the suspected source of her disease.
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