Hepatitis C Treatment in Minority Veterans - Office of Health Equity
Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Office of Health Equity

Menu
Menu

Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge
EBenefits Badge
 

Hepatitis C Treatment in Minority Veterans

Hepatitis C Treatment
in Minority Veterans

 

 
 Pamela S. Belperio, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVP,
Patient Care Services/Population Health
Lauren Korshak, DHealth(c), MS, RCEP, Office of Health Equity
Ernest Moy, MD, MPH, Office of Health Equity
 Veteran and dog

Download PDF

INTRODUCTION

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) serves a Veteran population that is increasingly racially and ethnically diverse. Equitable access to high-quality care for all Veterans is a major tenet of the VA health care mission. The Office of Health Equity (OHE) champions the elimination of health disparities, connecting all eligible Veterans to Hepatitis C treatment, to achieve health equity for all Veterans.

ELIMINATING DISPARITIES

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is four times more common in Veterans than the general U.S. population. Treating HCV can prevent liver cancer, cirrhosis and end stage liver disease.

VA has treated more than 123, 000 Veterans and cured more than 105,000 Veterans with HCV. VA and continues to make testing, treating, and curing HCV infection a priority. The hepatitis C test is available for all Veterans enrolled in VA health care. The newest treatments can cure most patients in about 8-12 weeks. There are no injections with the new treatments, only once daily oral medications.

VA began using these potent medications shortly after they became available in 2014 and under the leadership of the HIV, Hepatitis and Related Conditions (HHRC) Program, quickly implemented a collaborative program to identify and treat Veterans with HCV who were both willing and able to be treated. The program included extensive outreach to Veterans in VA known to have HCV infection, and increased testing of those at highest risk for HCV. VA has been continuously tracking HCV treatment among Veterans and no disparities have been identified in the Veterans treated for HCV (Figure 1).


Percent of Veterans with HCV Who Have Been Treated

ENSURING UNIFORM ACCESS TO HCV TREATMENT

The proportion of those treated by race is essentially identical to the proportion that each race contributes to the total HCV population. No race/ethnicity is being treated at a higher rate relative to the baseline population (Figure 2). 


Total HCV Veteran Population, by Race/Ethnicity

Although not every Veteran with HCV has been treated, there are no disparities with this cohort either. Currently, fewer than 22,000 Veterans in VA care remain to be treated (Figure 3).


Hepatitis C Infected Veterans Remaining to Be Treated

Key actions advancing the VA's aggressive treatment of HCV infection include expansion of treatment capacity using nonphysician providers, video telehealth, and electronic technologies; expansion of integrated care to address psychiatric and substance use comorbidities; and electronic data tools for patient tracking and outreach. A critical component of effective implementation has been building infrastructure through the creation of regional multidisciplinary HCV Innovation Teams, whose system redesign efforts have produced innovative HCV practice models addressing gaps in care while providing more efficient and effective HCV management for the populations they serve.


For more information about VA's Hepatitis C treatment efforts visit: https://www.hepatitis.va.gov/

For more information about the Office of Health Equity visit: https://www.va.gov/healthequity/

For additional OHE information briefs and fact sheets visit: https://www.va.gov/HEALTHEQUITY/Publications_and_Research.asp


REFERENCE

Belperio, P.S., et al. 2017. “Curing Hepatitis C Virus Infection: Best Practices From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs” Annals of Internal Medicine. 167(7): 499-504. [PMID: 28973196]