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Treating Hepatitis C Infection in Prison Is Good Public Policy

Incarcerated patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are just as likely to respond to treatment for the disease as patients in the community,

 

according to findings published in the October issue of Hepatology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. The study from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) in Madison found that HCV patients in prison were just as likely to achieve a sustained viral response (SVR) as non-incarcerated patients.

Medical evidence reports that chronic HCV is the leading cause of end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and liver disease mortality in the U.S. Further studies have shown the risk of developing cirrhosis due to chronic HCV ranges between 5 and 25 percent over a 25 to 30 year period. Consequences caused by chronic HCV are major public health concerns within the U.S. prison system, with research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating up to 31 percent of U.S. inmates have chronic HCV, compared to just two percent of the general population in this country.

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