Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common blood-borne illness, affecting three to five million Americans, and many of them don't even know it. Philadelphia has a high rate of hepatitis C among its residents, who many times have limited access to screening and treatment.
So how do you get help to the people who need it the most? You go door to door. A new study, led by a Drexel University College of Medicine researcher and recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, shows that when advocates made a focused effort in a medically under-served area, they were able to help patients get screened, diagnosed and treated.
"This study demonstrates the importance of community-based testing for HCV in identifying previously diagnosed individuals and re-engaging those aware of their diagnosis but not currently in care," said the study's lead author, Stacey Trooskin, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine. "We learned that a comprehensive approach to nonclinical testing is critical and must integrate immediate access to confirmatory testing as well as intensive patient navigation to effectively link patients to care."
"Although hepatitis C is now a curable disease, we identified new barriers to care such as the need for a referral to subspecialty care and challenges obtaining medication approval for patients, particularly those covered under Medicaid."
Read the entire article at drexel.edu/medicine.
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