May 29, 2013
Your May 27 editorial “Rhode Island: Targeting a baby-boomer scourge” highlights the prevalence of the hepatitis C virus in baby boomers. The majority of new cases are between 48 and 68 years old, and most are unaware that they carry the virus. At the Boston Public Health Commission, we encourage all those born between 1945 and 1965 to get tested by their doctor, and we work to connect those without a primary care provider to care.
However, as many as 40 percent of people have not seen their primary care provider in a given year but have visited a dentist. That’s why we look for innovative ways to reach people with information about hepatitis C and testing.
Dentists and other oral health providers have a unique opportunity to provide information and link people to testing and care. With a variety of different health care professionals raising the topic of the hepatitis C virus with their patients, we hope to increase the number of those tested and linked to treatment.
Helene Bednarsh – Director - HIV dental program - Boston Public Health - Commission