In a small number of cases, the virus is passed during sex.
Schiff agreed that people would need to be screened for the new drug regimens to effectively prevent cases of liver cirrhosis and cancer. Only a small number of people with chronic hepatitis C develop those complications, but there is no way to predict any one person's course.
Treating all those people with the new drugs coming to market will be expensive, Schiff said. "But it's highly likely they'll be cured," he added. "And you'll be curing a disease that causes cirrhosis and cancer."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on hepatitis C.
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