World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day is observed annually on July 28. Organized by the World Hepatitis Alliance , a non-governmental organization that represents hepatitis B and hepatitis C patient groups from around the world, the annual observance focuses attention on the huge impact of viral hepatitis infection globally – with as many as one in 12 people worldwide living with either chronic hepatitis B or C. However, according to the Alliance, "While this is far higher than the prevalence of HIV or any cancer, awareness is inexplicably low and the majority of those infected are unaware."
Unfortunately, this is largely true here in the U.S., as well. Although it is the most common blood-borne infection and a leading infectious cause of death, claiming 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 sometimes 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.
For more information about World Hepatitis Day in the U.S., visit CDC's World Hepatitis Day page.
In recent years, in support of the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, the White House has marked the observance of World Hepatitis Day.
World Hepatitis Day 2013
On July 26, 2013, the White House hosted a World Hepatitis Day observance. The event was co-hosted by the White House Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and featured remarks by federal officials as well as panel discussions about both domestic and global responses to viral hepatitis.
- World Hepatitis Day (National Institute on Drug Abuse blog)
- CDC Works with Partners Around the World to Combat Hepatitis (CDC Global Health blog)
- Giving Voice to the Silent Epidemic of Hepatitis (guest post from Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs)
View photos from the event below.
To commemorate World Hepatitis Day, the President also issued a proclamation:
Excerpt from Presidential Proclamation on World Hepatitis Day 2013
Viral hepatitis is a silent epidemic, and we can only defeat it if we break that silence. Now is the time to learn the risk factors for hepatitis, talk to family, friends, and neighbors who may be at risk, and to speak with healthcare providers about strategies for staying healthy. On World Hepatitis Day, let each of us lend our support to those living with hepatitis and do our part to bring this epidemic to an end.
--President Barack Obama
World Hepatitis Day Proclamation
July 26, 2013
Read the full Presidential Proclamation for World Hepatitis Day 2013
World Hepatitis Day 2012
In 2012, the White House hosted a World Hepatitis Day briefing on August 2. View photos from the event below.
The President also issued a proclamation:
Excerpt from Presidential Proclamation on World Hepatitis Day 2012
I encourage all Americans to talk with a physician about hepatitis prevention to learn more about what they can do to stay healthy.
My Administration remains committed to addressing viral hepatitis. As part of our Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis; the Healthy People 2020 initiative; and other Federal programs, agencies across the Federal Government are partnering with States, communities, and stakeholders throughout the private and nonprofit sectors to prevent new cases of hepatitis and help Americans who have already been affected. We are promoting hepatitis outreach and education that shines a light on this public health issue. With the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we are working to prevent, treat, and control hepatitis B infections in AAPI communities. And by bringing health insurance within reach for more Americans, the Affordable Care Act is helping improve patient access to comprehensive viral hepatitis prevention and treatment services.
Read the full Presidential Proclamation for World Hepatitis Day 2012.
World Hepatitis Day 2011
On July 28, 2011, the White House held a "World Hepatitis Day Briefing." (Watch the briefing, available in two parts, on the White House YouTube channel. View the first segment and second segment ). The President also issued a proclamation, which highlighted the Action Plan:
Excerpt from Presidential Proclamation on World Hepatitis Day 2011
My Administration has also released a comprehensive Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis. The plan brings together expertise and tools across government to coordinate our fight against this deadly disease. Our goal is to reduce the number of new infections, increase status awareness among people with hepatitis, and eliminate the transmission of hepatitis B from mothers to their children.
The first step toward achieving these goals is raising public awareness of this life-threatening disease. We must work to reduce the stigma surrounding hepatitis, and to ensure that testing, information, counseling, and treatment are available to all who need it. The hard work and dedication of health-care professionals, researchers, and advocates will help bring us closer to this goal…I encourage citizens, Government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and communities across the Nation to join in activities that will increase awareness about hepatitis and what we can do to prevent it.
--President Barack Obama
World Hepatitis Day Proclamation
July 28, 2011
Read the full Presidential Proclamation for World Hepatitis Day 2011.