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Remove Hepatitis C Treatment Barriers

Dr. Christina Wang, Medical Director of Hawai'i Health & Harm Reduction Center

HHHRC Executive Director Heather Lusk and Medical Director Dr. Christina Wang co-authored a Honolulu Star-Advertiser opinion-editorial that called for the removal of barriers to hepatitis C treatment, including stringent pre-authorization requirements (“Remove Hepatitis C Treatment Barriers,” 8/28).

“Broader action beyond lifting Medicaid restrictions is needed if Hawaii is to meet WHO’s goal to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030. Additional resources should be dedicated to populations that account for a large percentage of those living with hepatitis C in our community, including people who use drugs and people who are unhoused.

“The costs of non-treatment far exceed the costs of effective treatment, as the complications of non-treatment may include liver cancer care and death. Treatment should be available in settings where people already receive services, such as primary care offices, community clinics, syringe services programs, substance use treatment centers, and carceral facilities. Hawaii should also increase the number of primary care providers treating hepatitis C.”

They also extended a mahalo to Gov. Ige for declaring July 28 “World Hepatitis Day” in Hawai῾i. For more information on current efforts to eliminate viral hepatitis in Hawai῾i, visit the website of Hep Free Hawai῾i.

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