New treatments available in Alaska for Hepatitis C

ANCHORAGE –Hepatitis C is a disease that health officials say kills more Alaskans than HIV and AIDS, but according to state health officials, most of the people who have the virus don’t know it.

State Hepatitis prevention coordinator Ginger Provo says more than 16,000 Alaskans have been infected with the Hepatitis C virus since the state started keeping records in the mid 1990s. But Provo believes the real numbers are much higher. She said up to 75 percent of people who have the disease have not been diagnosed because many of them aren’t experiencing symptoms.

The one bright spot for the disease lies in its treatment. New drugs have been released recently that work better, faster and with fewer side effects than previous treatments, Provo says.

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