Many PAN members know Laurie Edmiston of CATIE, or have worked with one of the great staff members there. CATIE is a national organization for HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) information and education. Laurie recently wrote a piece that appeared in the Vancouver Sun: Nine countries will eliminate hep C by 2030. Why not Canada?
Canada has an excellent public health care system, and negotiations by provincial governments last year brought down the price of new hepatitis C drugs. Across the country, public health insurance plans are eliminating eligibility restrictions for coverage, and we have dramatically improved access to hepatitis C treatment from coast to coast.
The problem is that almost half of Canadians with hepatitis C won’t benefit from these new treatments because they don’t know they have been infected. The only way to know if someone has hepatitis C is to get tested. But until now, screening guidelines in Canada have focused on people who are considered at high risk, missing the large number of Canadians who may have been exposed to hepatitis C much earlier in their lives.
Laurie writes about new approaches and the hope for a country free of hepatitis C.