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Hepatitis C Elimination Program Results Might Be Under Threat in Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, August 24
Statistics show that Georgian patients, mostly men, who have undergone the Hepatitis C treatment, continue taking alcohol, which puts the results of the whole program under risk.

The information was released by Director of "Health Research Union" Maia Butsashvili. According to her, cured patients, who again started to consume alcohol, might develop liver cancer or cirrhosis.

"People who have undergone Hepatitis C program continue to take alcohol in large amounts. Although the doctors strongly warn them that cure does not mean that they can return to their old lifestyle, unfortunately, patients do not obey these recommendations,” she stated.

The Director of "Health Research Union" explains that such a behavior endangers the whole program and puts the state efforts to eliminate Hepatitis C in the country – under threat.

Maia Butsashvili says that around $80,000-100,000 is spent on each patient during the program and it is unfortunate when the patients have such an attitude to it.

“This irresponsible act is very common, especially in men. It is hard to talk about statistics, but as a doctor, I say that at least half of the cured patients continue to consume alcohol,” she stated.

The Hepatitis C Elimination Program launched in 2015, has admitted almost 50, 000 patients. 98.2% of them have been cured.

The program was launched in partnership with the American company Gilead, with the goal to make Georgia a Hepatitis C-free country by 2020.

The treatment, as well as Hepatitis C test, is free of charge for the citizens of Georgia.

Georgia had one of the highest estimated virus prevalence rates in the world, affecting 6.7 percent of the population.