Hepatitis C virus affects over 3 million Americans but studies indicate that 75% of those people infected are unaware of the presence of the disease. Estimates indicate that approximately 150,000 in the US will die from liver cancer and liver disease stemming from viral hepatitis within the next 10 years. According to the CDC, of the 3.5 million people in this country that have the disease, 75% of them are between the ages of 47-67, but unfortunately most of these people are not aware of it (Gravitz 2011). It can remain undetected for many years also due to the fact that it is only identified by one specific test. As the government becomes aware of the epidemic health care issues affecting our community, focus needs to be directed toward new measures and new ideas geared towards the early identification and early treatment of this prevalent disease. New programs need to be established that incorporate the idea that treatment costs in the early stages will prevent increased costs and treatment in the future. Preventing the disease from progressing to advanced stages can decrease the need for aggressive costly treatment as being the only option remaining. According to Soler (2012), a documented vulnerable population within the Miami-Dade area is baby-boomers born between the years of 1945-1965, that’s why the Community health initiative we are proposing will commit to raising awareness of the need of testing for hepatitis as the only method to definitively diagnose and attempt to successfully treat the affection. My community needs to be educated of such risks and information should be provided in their hands as proof of our concern. Our initiative is projected that by April 2014, every individual born from 1945-1965 residing in the Miami Dade County should be contacted either via mail, email, text, phone call etc. and made aware of the health problem as well as information for help at no cost or minimal expense. Vulnerable Population and Risk Factors
Infectious viral hepatitis A, B, and C are significant health problems in Miami-Dade County affecting an estimated 47,000 residents. Of those affected, 25,795 are confirmed as having Hepatitis C. The area of Miami-Dade County is home to a large population of retirees that include baby boomers. This generation reportedly lived in an era where unprotected sex, drug use, poorly screened blood transfusions and sharing of needles during illicit drug use was not yet widely recognized as high risk behavior and therefore many people were unknowingly exposed to this virus that can remain undetected for many years and initially shows little to no symptoms. Prior to 1992 blood transfusions were not tested for the virus and another significant area of concern is the possibility of transmission during pregnancy. Data obtained from national governmental source http://www.cdc.gov/features/HepatitisCTesting/index.html. Risk factors (CDC, 2003)
* Drug use, the greatest risk of acquiring hepatitis C, through the sharing of blood contaminated equipment (e.g. spoons, filters and water by current or former injecting drug users. * Blood transfusion or blood products or being given blood products. * Medical or dental treatment abroad including blood transfusions in countries where hepatitis C is common and infection control is inadequate.
Review of Supporting Literature
According to (Hofmann & Zeuzem, 2012) in Germany, 400 000 to 500 000 people are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus and 170 million people worldwide. The article emphasized the available treatment in Germany, called peg interferon and ribavirin which is recommended for a variable length of time depending on the HCV genotype the baseline HCV-RNA concentration, and the decline in HCVRNA concentration after 4 and 12 weeks of treatment. Either boceprevir or Telaprevir is given in addition to peg interferon and ribavirin. These triple combinations were shown to yield higher SVR rates...