VOCAL-NY Users Union members rallied outside Governor Cuomo’s office on March 9th to call for better access to lifesaving hepatitis C treatment in methadone programs, where as many as nine out ten patients in some programs may have hepatitis C. Afterwards, we joined Status C Unknown and a statewide coalition of syringe access and public health programs for a legislative briefing on scaling up our state’s response to the health crisis.
Media coverage of the hepatitis C action below.
• Gannett News / Politics on the Hudson: VOCAL New York Gets Vocal on the Second Floor
• Albany Times Union / Capitol Confidential: The Hepatitis lobby is in town
BACKGROUND ON HEP C IN NEW YORK:
Hepatitis C is an urgent and neglected health issue in New York, with 240,000 state residents living with chronic hepatitis C. The number of people with serious liver disease from hepatitis, including cirrhosis and liver cancer, is expected to triple over the next decade and associated health care costs will rise exponentially if we do not act quickly. African Americans and Latinos have disproportionately high rates of hepatitis C, and nearly one-third of people living with HIV are also co-infected with hepatitis C.
New treatments for hepatitis C are anticipated later this year, which underscores the importance of scaling up voluntary testing, counseling and support programs. VOCAL-NY Users Union members will be advocating for better access to hepatitis C treatment in methadone programs during the coming months.