This past year, 2014, has been an exciting time for hepatitis C patients and those who care for them. We now have treatments that offer a cure for the majority of genotype 1 patients. Who would have thought a few years ago that these hard to treat patients who make up the majority of hepatitis C infections would have over a 90% rate of sustained viral response, which is considered a cure for hepatitis C virus? And the icing on the cake, is that treatments are of much shorter duration, are oral, have minimal side effects compared to the old treatment of pegylated interferon and ribavirin, and patients can use the “cure” word if they are undetected 12 weeks after treatment is completed.
Hepatitis C Association is continuing its educational programs for patients living with hepatitis C virus. We have a wonderful faculty who delivers these programs wherever patients gather and want to learn more about the virus and how to live with it, treat it, and make good lifestyle decisions about their lives.
We are also the managing partner for the Help4Hep toll-free support and resource line. This is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning about the virus, needing emotional support, finding resources in their community, or are looking for help negotiating finding treatment and financial help. This line is staffed by counselors who are employees or volunteers from Hepatitis C Association, Project Inform, HealthPro, and Hep C Connection. Help4Hep just celebrated its third anniversary. We have talked with 4000 patients so far. We are unique in that we will follow a patient through his/her unique hepatitis journey and stay in touch with him/her if that is what the patient requests.
Hepatitis C Association is actively involved in the online hepatitis community as well. We serve as moderators at hepatitisc.net and participate in other discussion forums. We continue to advocate for patients and are optimistic about the future.
Sue Simon, President
Hepatitis C Association
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