FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Centre for Disease Control Releasing Report on Hepatitis C Care in Rural/Remote British Columbia

(Press Release) –PRINCE GEORGE (BRITISH COLUMBIA) March 2, 2017 – Does care for hepatitis C in rural/remote areas differ from that in urban parts of our province, and if so, how? On March 6 (11 am – noon), researchers from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) will try to answer these questions. Núria Chapinal, PhD, an epidemiologist in BCCDC’s Clinical Prevention Services, will share some new calculations made using data from over a million individuals collected by BCCDC since 1990. Her presentation will be shared remotely at a gathering at Positive Living North offices, 1563 Second Ave. in Prince George. The public is invited to view this presentation and partake in a short question period following. The presentation will also be recorded and made available online.

Provincial hepatitis C patient advocacy group, HepCBC Hepatitis C Education and Prevention Society (www.hepcbc.ca/) requested that BCCDC do these calculations to improve understanding of any gaps in access and engagement in care and treatment. It will show the estimated % of BC’s rural/remote population that is infected with hepatitis C (prevalence), has developed chronic infection, has been screened, has received follow-up testing, has been “genotyped” (type of hepatitis C determined), has started treatment, and has been cured.

Greatly improved new treatments will soon be covered by PharmaCare for all infected people in BC. These “Direct-Acting Antivirals” (DAAs) have made it possible to cure this often “silent” killer which is responsible for increasing rates of cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, liver transplant, hepatic encephalopathy, and other serious complications of hepatitis C.

Provincially, the BCCDC has determined approximately 73,000 individuals have hepatitis C, 55,000 of those have been diagnosed, 41,000 of those had follow-up testing, 26,000 of those were genotyped, 8500 of those started treatment, and 5,000 have actually been cured. The new study will attempt to divide up those figures into urban and rural/remote components.

The public is welcome to attend this event. For more information, call Positive Living North at 250-562-1172. The Canadian Liver Foundation, HepCBC and Positive Living North urge everyone born between the years 1945 and 1975 to ask their doctor for a simple, one-time test for hepatitis C. Both Positive Living North and HepCBC will also have information tables at the March 5th Wellness North Expo at Prince George’s Conference and Convention Centre.

Anyone interested in more information about this study or event, please contact Cheryl Reitz, Volunteer with HepCBC Hepatitis C Education and Prevention Society.  creitz@hepcbc.ca

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