Health leaders want to eliminate Hepatitis C in NY

posted by Newsradio WHAM 1180 & AP - 

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Organizers of New York's first-ever Hepatitis C summit are calling on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to wipe out Hepatitis C in the state.

Public health officials, elected leaders, medical experts and patient advocates released a statement at the Tuesday summit in Albany calling for an official task force to fight the chronic disease that afflicts more than 200,000 people in the state.

The statement says New York's medical and research resources provide a solid foundation to enhance prevention, expand screening and provide access to affordable treatment.

Hepatitis C is spread through contact with contaminated blood. The ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic has emerged as a new contributor to the spread of the disease.

ST. JOHNSBURY, VT - FEBRUARY 06: Used syringes are discarded at a needle exchange clinic where users can pick up new syringes and other clean items for those dependent on heroin on February 6, 2014 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin recently devoted his entire State of the State speech to the scourge of heroin. Heroin and other opiates have begun to devastate many communities in the Northeast and Midwest leading to a surge in fatal overdoses in a number of states. As prescription painkillers, such as the synthetic opiate OxyContin, become increasingly expensive and regulated, more and more Americans are turning to heroin to fight pain or to get high. Heroin, which has experienced a surge in production in places such as Afghanistan and parts of Central America, has a relatively inexpensive street price and provides a more powerful affect on the user.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


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