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Hepatitis C Screening Guidelines Updated

Robert Hindes MD

Robert Hindes, MD, a former group director of virology for Bristol-Myers Squibb, currently serves as the chief medical officer for Trek Therapeutics, a drug manufacturer focusing on treatments for infectious diseases. Under the leadership of Robert Hindes, MD, Trek Therapeutics is developing highly effective and affordable combination regimens to treat Hepatitis C (HCV), a blood-borne infectious disease.

Since HCV is a blood-borne virus, specific subgroups of the population face elevated exposure risks to the disease. For this reason, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has revised its HCV testing guidelines. IDSA encourages all pregnant women to undergo HCV testing as early as possible to reduce the chances of transmitting the disease to their unborn child.
Further, people who inject or inhale drugs or have a history of drug use should be tested annually. The guidelines also recommend HCV testing to be administered alongside first-time pre-exposure [HIV] prophylaxis (PrEP) prescriptions, due to an increase in HCV diagnoses in men who have male sexual partners.
Finally, the healthcare gaps present in many correctional facilities increase the likelihood that people currently or previously incarcerated are unaware of their HCV status. According to the new guidelines, all people who are currently incarcerated should receive HCV-antibody testing, followed by HCV-RNA testing if the initial test is positive. One of the goals of Trek Therapeutics is to develop HCV drugs that are sufficiently cost effective to encourage treatment of patients in jails and prisons.

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