The National Medical Association (NMA) released the much anticipated Consensus Panel Paper entitled: Hepatitis C: A Crisis in the African American Community. When faced with the startling facts on the burden of Hepatitis C (HCV) in the Black community, former NMA President Rahn K. Bailey, MD convened experts to make recommendations to address this crisis.
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Did you know that hepatitis C is a viral disease?
“Hepatitis C is more common and results in higher primary liver cancer and death rates due to liver disease in African Americans compared to White Americans. This disparity in morbidity and mortality can be reduced by current HCV treatments which cure infection in 55-60% of African Americans.”
To explore the issues that lead to higher rates of disease and poorer outcomes among African Americans, the NMA convened a Consensus Panel. The Consensus Panel was Co-Chaired by two of the nation’s leading hepatologists; Charles Howell, MD, Director of Hepatology Research at the University of Maryland and Andrew Muir, MD, Director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Research at Duke Clinical Research Institute.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all U.S. baby boomers should get a one-time test for HCV. One in 30 baby boomers – the generation born from 1945 through 1965 – has been infected with HCV, and most don’t know it. The panel supports these guidelines but recommends increased screening of HCV; in all at risk populations.