Incarceration, Inequality, and Hepatitis C Treatment: The Story of Two Southern States
Letter to the Editor
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection causes liver-related morbidity/mortality and disproportionately affects people who are incarcerated and non-Hispanic Black populations, largely due to social and policy issues that contribute to poor health. With the advent of highly efficacious treatment, HCV is now curable. However, most states’ departments of corrections do not offer universal HCV testing or treatment. Two southern states—Tennessee and Louisiana—provide examples of divergent approaches to addressing HCV infection. While Tennessee has offered treatment on a limited basis, resulting in a class action lawsuit, the state of Louisiana recently adopted a new approach. In establishing the 2019 Hepatitis Elimination Plan, the state created a standard of care for HCV infection that included robust testing and treatment in state prison facilities while capping costs. Louisiana has demonstrated the feasibility of HCV testing and treatment programs within state prisons, an important step towards achieving health equity.
Wennerstrom, Ashley; Manogue, Sean; Hardeo, Hannah; Robinson, William T.; Thomas, David L.; and Irvin, Risha, "Incarceration, Inequality, and Hepatitis C Treatment: The Story of Two Southern States" (2023). School of Public Health Faculty Publications. 252.