LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Today is World Hepatitis Day, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) wants to remind Michiganders of the We Treat Hep C program; created to increase access to treatment for Hepatitis C and subsequently lowering the prevalence of the liver disease in Michigan.
According to MDHHS, hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) which can cause both long and short-term illnesses. The disease is spread through contact with the blood of someone who is infected.
Oftentimes, people infected with the virus don’t even know that they have hepatitis C- and find out decades after being infected. While there is currently no vaccine for the disease, there are treatments that can cure the infection within two to three months.
“World Hepatitis Day is an additional opportunity to encourage all Michiganders to get tested for HCV at least one time in their life, and more frequently if they are in an at-risk category,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “HCV is curable, and we are committed to making both testing and treatment accessible for all residents in need.”
Through a partnership with AbbVie, MDHHS has been able to make a hepatitis C direct-acting antiviral MAVYRET available to all Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries. Since the partnership began, there has been a 56% increase in beneficiaries who have begun HCV treatments.
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