The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it is on track to eliminate hepatitis C in all veterans willing and able to receive treatment within a timeframe of 2 months, according to a press release from the office.
“As the largest single provider of HCV care in the U.S., this is terrific news because it means we are within striking range of eliminating hepatitis C among veterans under the care of the Veterans Health Administration,” Robert Wilkie, VA Secretary, said in the release. “Diagnosing, treating and curing hepatitis C virus infection among Veterans has been a significant priority for VA.”
Previously, the rate of treated and cured veterans was 12,000 of the 180,000 in VA care who have been diagnosed with HCV.
The VA has increased their efforts with a goal to treat nearly 2,000 veterans each week. As of March 3, approximately 116,000 veterans initiated all-oral HCV medications through the VA and 96,654 veterans completed treatment with sustained virologic response.
Following the increase in treatment and cure rates, the overall rate of mortality 1 year after treatment among veterans decreased to 80%. Additionally, veterans who achieved SVR were 84% less likely to develop cancer.
The VA noted that there are currently fewer than 27,000 veterans in VA care that remain to be treated.