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Northwestern, Lurie Children’s Partner on Hepatitis C Treatment

AN INNOVATIVE treatment plan is being offered during pregnancy under the guidance of specialists at Northwestern Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago that allows “the pregnant person to be cured of hepatitis C during the course of prenatal care, which may also substantially mitigate or even eliminate the risk of transmitting hepatitis C to the baby,” the hospitals said.

The treatment plan is important given the ongoing opioid epidemic and the continued sharing of needles. Meanwhile, hepatitis C cases in the United States are on the rise with the highest infection rates among young adults and women of childbearing age.

“Our goal is pretty simple—we want to improve the lives of pregnant patients with hepatitis C and their infants,” said Lynn M. Yee, MD, a maternal fetal specialist and director of the Northwestern Medicine Women’s Infectious Disease Program. “Although treatment during pregnancy is not yet common, our professional societies support a shared decision-making process, including discussing with patients what is known versus unknown. We believe that by including pregnant people in hepatitis C research and treatment programs, we will work towards the public health goal of eliminating hepatitis C as well as addressing historical issues of excluding pregnant people from life-changing therapies.”

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