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Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis

Overview

Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis

Building on the success of the nation’s first comprehensive cross-agency action plan, released in 2011, Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice (DOJ), and Veterans Affairs (VA) released a 3-year update of the plan in April 2014.
 
The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan builds on the foundation of and momentum generated by the original action plan and seeks to harness:

  • New recommendations for health care providers regarding screening for hepatitis C;
  • Promising new developments in treatments for hepatitis C;
  • Mounting public awareness of and concern about hepatitis B and hepatitis C; and
  • The expansion of access to viral hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, care, and treatment offered by the Affordable Care Act.

The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan details more than 150 actions to be undertaken between 2014 and 2016 by 20 federal agencies or offices from across four federal departments. Those actions are organized around six priority areas.

Hepatitis Action Plan

The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan underscores that its national goals cannot be achieved through federal action alone. Envisioning active involvement of and innovation by a broad mix of nonfederal stakeholders from various sectors, both public and private, the plan provides a framework and focus around which all key stakeholders can engage to strengthen the nation’s response to viral hepatitis and seeks to leverage opportunities to improve the coordination of viral hepatitis activities across all sectors.

Read the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016) (PDF 2MB).
Download a factsheet (PDF 714KB) about the updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.
Read the press statement about the updated plan.

Goals

The updated Action Plan continues the pursuit of four overarching national goals to be achieved by 2020:

  • Increase in the proportion of persons who are aware of their hepatitis B virus infection, from 33% to 66%
  • Increase in the proportion of persons who are aware of their hepatitis C virus infection, from 45% to 66%
  • Reduce by 25% the number of new cases of HCV infection
  • Eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HBV

Action Plan Priority Areas

  1. Educate health care providers and communities to reduce health disparities
  2. Improve testing, care, and treatment to prevent liver disease and cancer
  3. Strengthen surveillance to detect viral hepatitis transmission and disease
  4. Eliminate transmission of vaccine-preventable viral hepatitis
  5. Reduce viral hepatitis caused by drug-use behaviors
  6. Protect patients and workers from health-care associated viral hepatitis

Read the Latest Blog Posts About the Action Plan

Blog posts about the Action Plan are shared via the AIDS.gov blog. Read the latest posts:

Get the RSS feed for these posts. Learn more.

Latest Developments

Hepatitis Action Plan

Background

Viral hepatitis is a silent epidemic in the United States. Although it is a leading infectious cause of death and claims the lives of 12,000–15,000 Americans each year, viral hepatitis remains virtually unknown to the general public, at-risk populations, and policymakers; even health-care providers often lack knowledge and awareness about these infections. As a consequence, most of the 3.5–5.3 million Americans living with viral hepatitis do not know that they are infected, placing them at greater risk for severe, even fatal, complications from the disease and increasing the likelihood that they will spread the virus to others. Viral hepatitis is a major cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer in the United States; persons living with viral hepatitis are at increased risk for both conditions.

Hepatitis Action Plan

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is committed to ensuring that new cases of viral hepatitis are prevented and that persons who are already infected are tested; informed about their infection; and provided with counseling, care, and treatment. On May 12, 2011, HHS issued Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (PDF 672KB) which outlines robust and dynamic steps to increase viral hepatitis awareness and knowledge among health care providers and communities, and improve access to quality prevention, care, and treatment services for viral hepatitis. Some of these life-saving actions already are well underway. Other actions, representing innovations in practice, technology, and therapy, will require new strategic directions and commitment.

Learn More About Viral Hepatitis

VIRAL HEPATITIS. ARE YOU AT RISK? Take this online assessment to see if you're at risk. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/riskassessment/

Federal partners engaged in implementing the Action Plan offer more detailed information on the prevention, care and treatment of hepatitis B and C. Visit these specific sites for resources you can use:

VIRAL HEPATITIS. ARE YOU AT RISK? Take this online assessment to see if you're at risk. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/riskassessment/

Last revised: 04/03/2014