Chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can lead to liver disease and cancer in a minority of infected people. An older drug therapy for HCV required oral drugs and weekly injections of a drug with potential for severe side effects and took up to a year. New drug regimens will dramatically reduce treatment duration and side effects while clearing the virus from the liver in a larger percentage of people. However, most people infected with HCV never progress to liver damage in their lifetimes, a fact that must be weighed against the emotional upset and potential stigma of a person being tested and finding out he is infected with the HCV virus. The cost of the new drugs is currently very high.
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