With today’s release of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, momentum continues to build for increasing our efforts to reduce the burden of viral hepatitis.
We invite you to attend a briefing on viral hepatitis disparities and the opportunities provided by implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to reduce these disparities. This briefing is cosponsored by the California Health Policy Forum and the California Hepatitis Alliance.
Viral hepatitis is often referred to as a silent epidemic. The vast majority of individuals infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) do not know they are infected, that they can infect others, and that with treatment they could avoid deadly or disabling liver disease or cancer. Without improved screening and treatment efforts, from 2010 to 2030 the number of liver cancer cases in the U.S. is expected to rise 59 percent, with the highest increases expected among Hispanics and Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
Over half of those with chronic HBV are Asian/Pacific Islanders, many of whom have emigrated from countries with high rates of hepatitis B infection. While smaller in number, the highest rate of infection is among African American men. African Americans and Hispanics have higher rates of hepatitis C infection than Whites. In addition, 34 percent of California’s prison population is infected with chronic HCV.
Many aspects of the ACA provide opportunities to improve viral hepatitis prevention, screening, and treatment services. This is a crucial time for policymakers and advocates to ensure that ACA implementation efforts include strategies to reduce the current and future burden of viral hepatitis in California.
This briefing will provide:
An overview of the health and economic burdens associated with viral hepatitis in California, with an emphasis on research regarding racial/ethnic and economic disparities
Details on state and recently released federal plans to reduce the burden of viral hepatitis
A consumer perspective on the importance of access to viral hepatitis services
Recommendations for incorporating viral hepatitis prevention, screening, and treatment into Affordable Care Act implementation efforts
Orlando Chavez, Organizer, United for Drug Policy Reform; and Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award Winner
Ryan Clary, Director of Public Policy, Project Inform
Theresa Hughes, Founder/President, Wings for Life
Michelle Johnston, Sr. Program Specialist, Center for Health Improvement
Rachel McLean, Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, California Department of Public Health
If you have any questions about the event or how to register, please contact Michelle Johnston at 916-930-9216.
We look forward to seeing you at the Forum.
Karen Shore, PhD
Vice President for Planning & Health Policy
Center for Health Improvement