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Media Advisory: Johns Hopkins to Celebrate 1,000 Hepatitis C Cures - 05/17/2016

Media Advisory: Johns Hopkins to Celebrate 1,000 Hepatitis C Cures

Doctors, staff members, patients to gather Thursday to mark historic milestone
Release Date: May 17, 2016

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In a little more than a year, 1,000 people infected with the hepatitis C virus have been cured with help from the Johns Hopkins Infectious Disease Center for Viral Hepatitis. Doctors, nurses and other staff members from the clinic will celebrate this historic milestone with many of their cured patients on Thursday, May 19, at the William H. Welch Medical Library on the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine campus.

Within the last 18 months, there have been historic breakthroughs in the treatment of hepatitis C. In years past, the treatment was arduous and yielded spotty results. Today’s treatments can typically clear the virus from the body’s system in three months. The Infectious Disease Center for Viral Hepatitis recruits patients who test positive for hepatitis C virus and guides them, step by step, through their treatment to a cure.

“We have an entire network devoted to curing people of hepatitis C,” says Mark Sulkowski, M.D., medical director of the center. “From testing all the way to medication, we support patients through the process.”

The clinic brings together doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, peer counselors and others to help patients manage their treatment regimen. Many of the clinic's patients are Medicaid or Medicare recipients, and the clinic supports patients with the necessary paperwork to access medications and offset copays.

“While the cost of hepatitis C virus treatments can be a challenge, our team has assembled the resources to help patient access these curative therapies,” says Sulkowski.

The hepatitis C virus causes severe, and often fatal, liver diseases, like cirrhosis and cancer. People can live for decades without knowing they’re infected with the virus. The virus is spread through blood and other body fluids. New infections are most commonly associated with intravenous drug use.

An estimated 60,000 people in Baltimore City live with the hepatitis C virus, many of whom don’t know they’re infected.

Between noon and 1:30 p.m. on May 19, Sulkowski, other clinic staff members and patients will be available to talk to members of the media about the first 1,000 Baltimoreans cured and the hepatitis C challenges that the city still faces.

WHAT: Media availability to discuss milestone of 1,000 hepatitis C patients cured at Johns Hopkins

WHO: Doctors, nurses, staff members and former patients of the Johns Hopkins Infectious Disease Center for Viral Hepatitis

WHEN: Thursday, May 19, noon to 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: William H. Welch Medical Library, 1900 E. Monument St., Baltimore, MD 21205. Arranged parking is available for media at the Washington Street garage located at the corner of Monument and Washington Streets. Please tell the attendant you are on-site for this event.

RSVP: Please RSVP by Thursday, May 19, at 10 a.m. to Kim Polyniak, 443-510-5807, [email protected].