By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Kentucky, which has one of the nation’s highest rates of hepatitis C infection, will hold its 10th annual Viral Hepatitis Conference next week, on the day before World Hepatitis Day.
The conference, hosted by the Kentucky Rural Health Association, will look back at hepatitis over the last 10 years, and make some predictions for what the next decade may hold. It will run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. July 27 at the Embassy Suites on Newtown Pike in Lexington.
After the conference, from 6 to 8 p.m., there will be 10-year celebration dinner and awards ceremony and dinner. All who attend the conference are invited.
Each conference session will evaluate the key question asked in the conference title, “How Far Have We Come, and Where Do We Go From Here?”
The morning sessions will include discussions of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in Kentucky, including screening, referral and resources; and an introduction to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), medicine that can reduce a person’s chance of getting HIV from sex or injection-drug use.
Afternoon sessions will offer a national and a statewide view. The conference will also include sessions that take a look at hepatitis D, perinatal hepatitis B, hepatitis C projects in Kentucky, and pregnant women and children with hepatitis C, and explore drugs and interventions available to treat the disease.
In 2020, the latest data available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, the rate of reported cases of acute hepatitis C in Kentucky was 3.2 cases per 100,000 people, more than double the national rate of 1.5 per 100,000. Kentucky ties with Utah for the sixth highest rate in the nation.