If national average statistics hold up in Michigan, as many as 200,000 state residents are infected with Hepatitis C. At least 115,000 are already verified to have contracted the potentially deadly disease. The national average is about 1 to as much as 2% of the population being infected with Hepatitis C.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is adding Hepatitis C to its expanding workload, on top of dealing with COVID-19.

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The state is launching what it is calling the, “We Treat Hep C” campaign.  The main goal is to work toward providing screening and then treatment for those who test positive. It is spread through direct contact with blook from an infected person.  There is no vaccine to ward off the resulting HCV infection. But there is a readily available treatment that leads to a cure for an infected person in as little as eight to twelve weeks. Hepatitis C can cause serious liver damage. One of the problems faced by medical professionals is they often don’t get a chance to test people who might be infected. Symptoms often don’t show for years after contracting the disease.

The state’s new program is aimed at getting all adults tested, and then get treatment set up for them if they test positive. Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says time is of the essence. “It is crucial that all Michiganders receive a Hepatitis C Virus screening at least one time in their life, and more frequently if they are in an at-risk category. HCV is curable, and we are committed to making both testing and treatment accessible for all residents in need.”

Complete information on the program for medical professionals and state residents can be found at the state’s web page We Treat Hep C.

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