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Re: Increasing Government Funding for Public Education on HCV and Other Liver Diseases

As my representative you ought to know hepatitis C has been called a "silent epidemic" by former surgeon general Everett Koop, MD

The death rate due to complications from this disease is expected to quadruple in the next 10 years.

Hepatitis C, a blood-borne infectious disease of the liver, is a leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the number-one reason for liver transplants in the U.S. An estimated four to five million Americans are infected with the virus, with 35,000 to 180,000 new infections each year.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that hepatitis C is responsible for 8,000 to 10,000 deaths per year and could increase to 38,000 by the year 2010, surpassing annual HIV/AIDS deaths.

There is no known cure and current treatment has an inadequate success rate (while often causing debilitating side effects). And, yet, government funding for public education falls far behind that of other, less widespread diseases, such as HIV/AIDS.

I am requesting that you investigate this important area of public health and sponsor or co-sponsor legislation to allocate more funds to Hepatitis C education.

Thank you for your attention and consideration in regard to this serious matter.


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