(Indianapolis, IN, Tuesday, May 14, 2019) – Opioid use costs Indiana an estimated $4.3 billion annually in direct damages and lost productivity and has led to a dramatic increase in Hep C infections. There are an estimated 50,000 Hoosiers living with HCV. Community leaders, healthcare providers and local officials have been on the front lines of addressing these issues for years.
On Tuesday, May 14, HepConnect will launch a new effort to address the sharp rise in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in Indiana. HepConnect is a five-year, multimillion-dollar initiative aimed at addressing the sharp increase in chronic hepatitis C infections related to opioid use and stigma.
In partnership with the Harm Reduction Coalition, which was selected to lead the effort, the initiative will support evidence-based solutions to meet the needs of people most affected by the opioid crisis in Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. A total of $11.3 million has been dedicated to HepConnect in its first year.
Expand Screening and Linkage to Care: Fight rising HCV infection rates by testing for the virus and ensuring those who need care can access it. HepConnect supports local community partnerships in an effort to address and remove barriers to the continuum of care, using strategies proven to reduce HCV infection rates.
Support Harm Reduction and Community Education: Open doors to harm reduction services to all who need them to help reduce HCV transmission. HepConnect supports community partnerships and prevention programs that implement and expand evidence-based public health interventions, remove barriers to healthcare services and make harm reduction services available to all who need them.
Activate Healthcare Infrastructure: Build resources, know-how and capacity in communities where the need is greatest. HepConnect works to educate and expand the number of healthcare providers, support the implementation of telemedicine to reach people where they are and develop local, highly effective solutions to combat the sharp rise in HCV infection rates.