Week Ending December 20, 2021

Virginia Medicaid is removing its final barrier to treatment for hepatitis C
“Beginning in January, Virginia Medicaid will eliminate its final restriction to the treatment of hepatitis C — the need for providers to receive prior authorization for the medication.”

Need for Liver Transplants Due to Alcohol Use Spiked During COVID-19 Pandemic
“Liver transplants and waiting list registrations due to alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) increased during the COVID-19 pandemic in association with a rise in retail alcohol sales, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.”

HCV Treatment Declined Nearly Twofold Between 2015 and 2020
“The number of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the US who initiated treatment with direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA) declined between 2015 and 2020, according to data from the CDC presented at the 2021 American Association of the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) meeting.”

Free Access to Antivirals for Hep C Reduces Mortality Rate
“Providing hepatitis C patients with free access to new antiviral medicines drastically reduces the risk for death, according to a study carried out by a team of researchers from the National School of Public Health at Carlos III Institute of Health.”

Who Is at Risk for Liver Cancer After Hepatitis C Treatment?
“Some people with liver cirrhosis remain at risk for developing liver cancer even after hepatitis C treatment, according to study results presented at the AASLD Liver Meeting. Unsuccessful treatment that did not lead to a cure is the biggest risk factor. A related study found that among people who were cured, risk factors differ for people with and without cirrhosis.”

Increased HCV diagnosis, treatment necessary to hit WHO elimination targets
“The prevalence of hepatitis C infections has declined globally, but countries must scale up rates of diagnosis and treatment to achieve the WHO targets to eliminate HCV by 2030, according to new data.”

Fingerstick testing increased HCV screening in people who use drugs
“Onsite screening with a fingerstick assay at addiction treatment centers increased diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C among people who use drugs, researchers reported.”