There are many exciting things happening in the hepatitis C community and for the Hepatitis C Association. We have just completed a multi-year train-the-trainer program with our partner the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD), that was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In the past five years, 15 wonderful trainers have presented our program at 203 clinics and reached over 4000 clinicians who work with patients in recovery from drug use. We delivered the program in most of states in the USA.
As we go forward with this important education program, we continue to update it annually. And this year, 2009, the program, which is CEU accredited by the National Association for Addiction Professionals, has gone online. For those who qualify, CEU credits can now be obtained at www.hepcfocus.com. This is a new website dedicated to viral hepatitis in the substance abuse community.
With our partner, AATOD, plans are underway to continue and expand our training to include publication of a survey analyzing all aspects of the viral hepatitis training. We also plan to expand our patient program to include training and materials needed for patients to develop peer support groups in their clinics. There is much excitement about this new and improved program from a coalition of non-governmental funders.
A special thank you to AATOD, SAMHSA and McKing Consultants, for your support and help throughout the last 5 years. We could not have done any of this without your expertise.
Research is ongoing with new and exciting drugs in the pipeline. Oral drugs that target parts of the virus, along with longer acting interferons, are currently being studied and offer alternatives to the many who need treatment but do not respond to interferon and ribavirin alone. Immune based therapies and preventative and therapeutic vaccines are being studied. There are many things that bring hope for the future to hepatitis C patients.
Sue Simon, President
Hepatitis C Association