ABOUT THE AAHIVM INSTITUTE FOR HEPATITIS C

With many of the 1.2 million HIV-infected Americans already in care for their HIV, HIV care providers are in a unique position to treat and likely cure hepatitis C in the approximately one-quarter who are co-infected. This Institute has been created by AAHIVM to help advance knowledge of HIV/HCV co-infection care through educational initiatives, prevention and testing information, relevant research and policy activities. Dr. Margaret Hoffman-Terry, Vice Chair of the AAHIVM Board of Directors, serves as Director of the Institute.

THE NEED FOR AN INSTITUTE FOR HEPATITIS C

Research in hepatitis C has benefited greatly from the framework of HIV research laid down in the past 30 years, rocketing along at breakneck speed and condensing into years what previously would have taken decades. HIV providers, with their understanding of virology, resistance, drug–to-drug interactions, and the psychosocial needs of this population, stand in unique stead to expertly treat hepatitis C.

A survey of AAHIVM HIV-treating members and specialists in community health and Ryan White clinics, private practices, and academic and/or hospital settings (N=114) showed that HIV practitioners are caring for significant numbers of patients with Hepatitis C. Some of the key statistics include:

  • Respondents reported that patients with Hepatitis C infection represent 23 percent of the average respondent’s patient pool, or ALMOST ONE IN FOUR OF PATIENTS CURRENTLY BEING SEEN BY AN AAHIVM MEMBER OR SPECIALIST.
  • Additionally, 81 percent of clinician respondents felt that they have the proper clinical knowledge and education to expertly treat HCV infection. Ninety-two percent of the respondents agreed that AAHIVM should be doing more to support member providers treating Hepatitis C.
  • On the payer/access side of the issue, about 60 percent of survey respondents expected (or have experienced) insurance or cost access barriers to prescribing Hepatitis C treatments to their patients, representing a complicated but key public policy/advocacy portfolio on which to focus as an organization.

While AAHIVM has already conducted a number of HCV policy and educational initiatives (such as the clinical workshops on co-infection), the Institute will provide a greater focus on HCV for the Academy, and expand our programmatic activities in the future.