Dr. Rosado emphasizes the importance of diagnosis because yes, there is a cure for Hepatitis C

The challenges in Puerto Rico are aimed at early diagnosis.

Dr. Bárbara Rosado, hepatologist gastroenterologist, in the background Dr. Jose Rivera, hepatologist attached to Hospital Auxilio Mutuo and representative of the Puerto Rican Association of Gastroenterology. Photo: Enid Salgado, photographer. Journal of Medicine and Public Health.

Within the framework of World Hepatitis C Day, medical authorities gathered to discuss the challenges and achievements of the community in attention to the hundreds of Puerto Ricans who suffer from the condition exclusively for the Journal of Medicine and Public Health.

In this sense, Dr. Bárbara Rosado, hepatologist gastroenterologist, highlighted the scope of the treatments, which place the effectiveness between 95 and 98 percent, compared to what she experienced at beginning of his professional practicewhich was located in an effectiveness of around 35 and 40 percent.

“When I started my training, what we had was the interferon and ribavirin therapywas a prolonged therapy of approximately one year with some adverse effects difficult to tolerate, and the vast majority of patients could not complete it, with one, so it was very complex, so now it does not matter if the patient does not have risk factors, in their opinion the screening test It is important to be able to offer early care,” he added.

“This is one of the diseases in which clinical and treatment advances have evolved dramatically over time. Fortunately, in recent years, genotypic therapy has arrived, with a high effectiveness between 95 and 98 percent, among the various patient population groups infected with hepatitis C or co-infected, with a short-term treatment, which can last between 8 and 12 weeks,” he added.

He stressed that highly tolerable therapy, with minimal adverse effects, is a transcendental change, since in his practice it is one of the most important advances. “So today we can give the patient that motivation, that it is a curable disease, contrary to what happens with other viruses.”

He emphasized that not all patients with cirrhosis are liver transplant candidates and that is the motivation to educate and insist on screening tests, since only then can the patient avoid the consequences of this condition at that stage.

“We have a cure, but half of the patients don’t know they don’t have the condition, but of the half who do know they have the condition, they don’t necessarily receive the care and diagnosis,” explained Dr. Rosado.

For his part, Dr. Jose Rivera, hepatologist attached to the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital and representative of the Puerto Rican Association of Gastroenterology, emphasized that past paradigms and paradigms must be broken so that people understand that there is cure for hepatitis C and that the earlier we can identify these patients better quality of life they will have.

He explained that recent studies consulted indicate that between 45 and 85 percent of patients do not know they have the disease. For this reason, she stressed the importance of the test.

“If we are over 18 years of age we should get tested to identify hepatitis C, various studies indicate that between 2 and 5 percent remain without adequate treatment, and they will need evaluation for the rest of their lives.”

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Dr. Jose Rivera, hepatologist attached to the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital and representative of the Puerto Rican Association of Gastroenterology. Photo: Enid Salgado, photographer. Journal of Medicine and Public Health.

Challenges of medicine against Hepatitis C in Puerto Rico

Dr. Rivera highlighted that in the United States, through studies, it was determined that the more primary care physicians get involved, the better scope is had for the benefit of the population.

“I believe that the role of primary and preventive medicine has a very important role in eradicating the disease,” he said.

Likewise, Dr. Rosado highlighted that social stigma and mental health problems for these patients is another challenge, since many of them fear knowing their diagnosis.

“Many of them fear the reaction of their family, not being able to hug a grandson and then we also talk about mental health problems. All this affects patients a lot,” he said.

Both experts agree that the cost of treatment has greatly decreased, however, the administrative processes are very difficult, and this must also be taken into account by the health authorities.

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