Pictured above, Darrell Mason is presented with a certificate marking the 100,000th Veteran treated for hepatitis C.
Through innovative systems redesign, dedicated providers and engaged Veterans, VA recently began treatment for its 100,000th Veteran with hepatitis C (HCV). New highly effective medications are easy to take and cure hepatitis C in 95 percent of Veterans who take them – a huge improvement from past treatments.
On the ground, teams of providers and staff have worked to develop ways to get the word out over the past three years; new HCV treatments work, and most Veterans in VA care have answered “yes.”
The Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Chicago has the distinction of treating the 100,000th Veteran, Darrell A. Mason Sr.
Mason began treatment in January and meets with his VA team regularly to track his progress. When discussing his treatment experience with his wife, Theresa, he reported that he had no side effects from the medication and felt fine.
Dr. Kushal Shah, part of the team at Hines, explained that “Treatment typically takes 8-12 weeks to complete and then follow up testing is done to make sure the virus has cleared. We want Veterans who have delayed testing or treatment to come into VA soon so we can get started treating and curing their hepatitis C.”
The Hines team (L to R): Phyllis Weber, Dr. Steve Scaglione, Dr. Karine Rozenberg, Dr. Veronica Loy, Dr. Kushal Shah
As more and more Veterans complete treatment and follow up testing, we expected to hit our 100,000th Veteran cured by fall 2018. Follow our progress: https://www.hepatitis.va.gov
Hepatitis C treatment is available throughout the country to Veterans who receive their care from VA. If you haven’t been tested yet, ask your provider about it at your next appointment.
Learn more about hepatitis C testing and treatment at VA: https://www.hepatitis.va.gov/campaign-test-treat-cure.asp
Hear from Veterans about the impact of being cured: https://www.hepatitis.va.gov/patient/daily/success/index.asp
Elizabeth Maguire, MSW is the Communications Lead for the HIV, Hepatitis, and Related Conditions Programs in the Office of Specialty Care Services.