Fewer Medi-Cal patients got crucial treatment for hepatitis C amid pandemic “Fewer people have gotten crucial medication for hepatitis C under Medi-Cal in recent years, troubling advocates who have pushed to expand the lifesaving treatment. Hepatitis C, a slow-moving virus that can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis and death, can now be cured in most cases with a few months of direct-acting antiviral medication. California has taken steps to dismantle barriers to obtaining the pills under Medi-Cal, the California Medicaid program, including eliminating requirements for prior authorization.” Just 1 Out of 4 Medicaid Enrollees with Opioid Use Disorder Screened for HIV, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C “Injection drug users are at higher risk of getting HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Yet most Medicaid enrollees with opioid use disorder are not screened for these viruses. WESA’s Sarah Boden reports.” New WHO study: Making diagnosis of hepatitis C more accessible and closer to the community using point-of-care HCV viral load assays “Today, Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology published a key new WHO-led study in collaboration with the University of Bristol showing the benefit of using a quick clinic-based diagnostic test for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection over a standard laboratory-based test.” New Cherokee program helps people battling addiction “A new “harm-reduction” program launched by the Cherokee Nation was designed to help people battling opioid addiction. The program also should help prevent diseases like AIDS and hepatitis C fanned by transmission of blood-borne pathogens, health officials say.” Hepatitis C During Pregnancy Linked to Worse Outcomes “Active hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection during pregnancy is associated with premature birth, and a high viral load increases the risk of vertical transmission, according to findings published in the Journal of Hepatology. However, only a minority of infants born to mothers with HCV are screened for the infection, as is recommended by treatment guidelines.” FDA moves to ease rules for blood donations from gay men “The U.S. is moving to further ease restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men and other groups that typically face higher risks of HIV. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced draft guidelines that would do away with the current three-month abstinence requirement for donations from men who have sex with men. Instead, all potential donors would be screened with a new questionnaire that evaluates their individual risks for HIV based on sexual behavior, recent partners and other factors.”