RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina launched a multi-million dollar initiative to fight a dramatic spike in statewide hepatitis C infections fueled by the opioid crisis.
The HepConnect launch in Raleigh on Thursday followed launches in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Indiana, which also saw increased infections.
The state’s health department estimates over 100,000 North Carolinians live with hepatitis C, many of whom are unaware they’re infected. The virus can spread through sharing needles and can cause severe liver damage, or death. But virus symptoms often don’t show up for years.
The initiative aims to increase hepatitis C screenings and treat those infected with the virus.
Democratic Rep. Gale Adcock spoke at the event and later said the initiative is just one step in addressing all the problems caused by the opioid epidemic.
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