Skip Maine state header navigation
At the Crossroads: Hepatitis C Infection in Maine
A Comprehensive Statewide
1 2 3 4 5
Conclusions and Recommendations
C viral infection is a serious blood-borne chronic disease that is
rapidly reaching the point of crisis across the country. Because of the latency period and lack of symptoms, many
people are completely unaware that they are infected.
As Maine’s population ages, more and more cases of clinical
illness caused by hepatitis C infection will arise.
key findings of the Maine Hepatitis C Infection Needs Assessment include
Based on these findings, the Maine Hepatitis C Infection Needs Assessment Steering Committee recommends the rapid implementation of a comprehensive strategy to prevent and treat hepatitis C infection in Maine. The strategy must include statewide efforts coordinated by the Maine Bureau of Health to immediately address the following six priorities:
and implement an accessible hepatitis C counseling and testing program,
which targets those at risk and builds on the existing HIV counseling
and testing infrastructure.
This can be achieved through education and training of current
HIV/STD prevention staff, substance abuse treatment counselors, and
prison health staff; providing funding for hepatitis C infection
screening and follow-up tests through the Health and Environmental
Testing Laboratory; and providing access to free counseling and testing
for those at highest risk.
the spread of hepatitis C infection through community outreach
Community-based health and social service agencies with proven
health education track records, particularly with the marginalized in
our society, should be funded in a coordinated, statewide hepatitis C
infection prevention initiative.
the quality of care for persons with hepatitis C infection by providing
state-of-the-art continuing education programs and expert consulting
services to physicians and other health and social service professionals.
An initiative modeled on
the AIDS Consultation Service at Maine Medical Center should be
established through an inclusive, public-private partnership.
and ensure access to an affordable, comprehensive system of care for
people with hepatitis C infection including, at a minimum, medical,
mental health and substance abuse treatment services.
efforts to extend and assure coverage for these essential services
should be undertaken by public and private insurers in Maine.
Models to explore may include current efforts underway in New
Mexico as well as Maine’s own Medicaid HIV Waiver.
hepatitis C infection surveillance capacity and initiate special studies
to increase understanding of the extent and dynamics of hepatitis C
infection in Maine.
Human resources are needed to refine and extend current HCV
infection data gathering and analysis and to communicate the information
to health providers and policymakers.
stand at a critical point in time in Maine in the hepatitis C
epidemic--a crossroads of crisis and opportunity.
Continued inaction in the face of the hepatitis C epidemic in Maine will lead us down the road of crisis in the near future. The crisis will manifest itself in new hepatitis C infections that could have been prevented, lost years of life for those unaware they are infected, and increased economic costs to both individuals and society.
Alternatively, we can embrace the challenges presented by the hepatitis C infection epidemic and choose the opportunity to respond to the many needs in new and creative ways. The opportunity we can choose is to construct a unique Maine-specific blend of public-private collaboration to mobilize needed human and financial resources to meet the hepatitis C epidemic head-on. The choice is ours.