Hepatitis C is a liver disease which tends to be very contagious, being spread primarily through contact with the blood of someone who is infected. It’s severity can range from a mild illness lasting only a couple of weeks to becoming a serious, lifelong illness which attacks the liver.
Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC have come out and estimated that around 3.5 million people living in the U.S. are infected and living with chronic hepatitis C, most of whom are unaware of the fact that they are infected.
The recent rise in cases can be directly attributed to the increase in intravenous drug use seen across the country, primarily from sharing or using dirty needles. Many states have been hit by an increase in heroin use but it would appear one state in particular has been hit the hardest. West Virginia has seen hard times as of late, with economic decline playing a key role in the increase of drug use witnessed here.
In this Vice special we see them travel to Huntington, West Virginia to see first hand how this infection has spread so quickly. Speaking with those who have been cured and those who are trying to stop this epidemic.