First Faculty Advisor
Second Faculty Advisor
hepatitis C; disease modeling; sobriety; medicaid
CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Hepatitis C (HCV) is the most prevalent infectious disease in America (1). This virus is spread through blood to blood contact, and disproportionally affects the People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) community. There is a 99% effective curative treatment available. However, Rhode Island Medicaid stipulates that a patient must be six months sober before accessing this treatment. Because of this barrier, less than 16% of people infected with HCV are able to access the curative treatment and the disease continues to run rampant throughout the state. Using SIS disease spread modeling techniques fit to current published Rhode Island Department of Health HCV data, this research modeled how the spread of HCV would be altered if this stipulation was repealed allowing PWID to access the curative treatment. The model showed that by relaxing the stipulation would lead to a conservative estimate of 5,000 fewer HCV infection and 500 HCV related deaths in the state by 2040.