I admit to being a thorn in the sides of political leaders over the years. However, this point seems fairly easy medicine to take. Let’s cure viral hepatitis C in our local detention center with some of the opioid settlement money.
My proposal is to utilize $500,000 of those dollars for a pilot program — more if necessary. Include inmates who will be there a minimum of three months, as the pangenotypic cure for hepatitis C is now almost 100% successful in two-three months.
With directly observed treatment, no transportation issues, no missed appointments, plus very few side effects from modern direct antiviral agents, what’s stopping us? Logistics, perhaps, but not the public health need or benefit. Lots of people in our region and state could be cured so easily if we take the steps to make this happen locally and show them the way.
— Michael Harney
WNC AIDS Project