Task force will heighten public awareness about screening & treatment for hepatitis virus

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Springfield…State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Gilson), along with a bi-partisan group of legislators, held a Memorial Day press conference to call for the establishment of a Hepatitis C Task Force in Illinois. The task force will focus on raising public awareness about the seriousness of the disease and provide solutions for better treatment and education about the life-threatening virus. According to Moffitt, U.S. Veterans, especially those from the Vietnam-era are considered an at-risk group.

“Studies now tell us that 1 in 10 U.S. Veterans are infected with Hepatitis C, with 1 in 5 of these individuals being from the Vietnam era,” said Moffitt. “By creating the Hepatitis C Taskforce, we will bring together healthcare professionals, patients, Veterans and the general public to work towards prolonging and improving the quality of life of infected patients.”

In August, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidelines recommending that all baby boomers be tested for Hepatitis C, citing studies suggesting more than 2 million Americans born between 1945 and 1965 may be infected with the virus. No vaccine exists to protect against Hepatitis C, although effective treatments exist. In some cases the virus can be cured.

“Diagnosis and early treatment of Hepatitis C are much more cost effective than delayed diagnosis and treatment,” said Moffitt. “Not only could early detection prolong and improve the quality of life for individuals with Hepatitis C, it could also lower medical costs.”

Under House Bill 3631, the task force will develop strategies to identify and address the unmet needs of persons with Hepatitis C in order to provide them with greater access to treatments and therapeutic options. The task force will focus on issues impacting the quality of life of individuals with Hepatitis C. It will also develop strategies to improve Hepatitis C education and awareness.

To learn more about the Hepatitis virus visit cdc.gov or hcvets.com.