November 20, 2010

HRSA Awards $1.6 Million to Improve Availability and Expansion of Hepatitis C (HCV) Treatment

ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 19, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded $1.6 million in grants to support the Hepatitis C Treatment Expansion Initiative. The funds will aid organizations implementing effective, focused interventions designed to increase access to and completion of Hepatitis C (HCV) treatment for HIV-positive patients. Hepatitis C affects about 3.2 million people in the United States, and is responsible for approximately 17,000 deaths each year; about one quarter of HIV-infected persons in the U.S. are also infected with Hepatitis C.

The grants, funded under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, Special Projects of National Significance, were awarded to 15 demonstration sites and one Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center (ETAC). This initiative will evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions to deliver HCV treatment among HIV-positive populations, and share best practice models with Ryan White grantees and other HIV medical providers to improve access and quality of Ryan White services for HIV patients.

"These funds are essential to expanding care and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C," said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, R.N., Ph.D. "This is an important opportunity to make measurable progress in treating coexisting conditions and creating a more knowledgeable care community to serve those most in need."

The organizations receiving the awards comprise the first of two demonstration site cohorts, each with two-year project periods. In addition, HRSA awarded a separate four-year cooperative agreement to the University of South Florida to serve as the ETAC, which will evaluate and provide technical assistance to the demonstration sites.

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