Congressional Champions Call for Bold Leadership to Eliminate Deadly Hepatitis B and C Epidemics in U.S.

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July 23, 2015

Contact:  Lauren Smith (Honda) (202) 225-2631 | Andy Phelan (Johnson) (404) 593-9126




WHAT:                 This World Hepatitis Day, Congressman Mike Honda (D-Silicon Valley) and Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) will join with community leaders, in solidarity with those impacted by viral hepatitis around the world, to host a press conference calling on Congressional colleagues to urgently commit bold leadership and resources to eliminate the hepatitis B and C epidemics in the United States.  This event is one of many worldwide and across the nation calling attention to the largest communicable – yet preventable – epidemics in the United States.

WHO:                   Hosts/Speakers: Congressman Mike Honda and Congressman Hank Johnson

Moderator: Ryan Clary, Executive Director, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, Washington, DC

Community Representatives/Speakers: 

Andrew Le, Patient Advocate, AddoMed, Chantilly, VA

Professor Alicia Suarez, DePauw University, Bloomington, IN; Former hepatitis C patient

WHERE:               Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2168 | Washington, DC  20515

WHEN:                 Tuesday, July 28th, 9 am

WHY:                    World Hepatitis Day is commemorated annually on July 28th to raise awareness of the estimated 400 million people worldwide affected by hepatitis B and/or C, and the 4000 lives lost each day to these epidemics.  In the United States an estimated 6 million people are affected by one of these chronic, communicable, potentially life-threatening conditions, which are the largest drivers of liver cancer domestically.  A shocking 65-75% of these individuals do not know they are infected, given the largely asymptomatic nature of hepatitis B and C.  Despite very limited surveillance capacity, over 21,200 deaths were attributed to hepatitis B and hepatitis C in 2013 in the U.S. Tragically, exemplifying our failure to adequately address hepatitis B – an entirely preventable condition thanks to a safe, effective vaccine – infants continue to be born hepatitis B-positive.  In these cases, 90% will develop chronic viral infection dramatically increasing the odds of developing cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, or liver cancer. As the opioid/heroin and overdose crises grip the nation, an emerging wave of the hepatitis C epidemic has followed in their wake, particularly among young people under 30 years old in Appalachia and neighboring regions.  In just the past few years, novel curative treatments were released, and for the first time, there is truly an opportunity to eliminate hepatitis C in the U.S. given a genuine, urgent commitment of leadership and resources proportional to the immense need in order to drive effective intervention.



·           Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA-17th)

·           Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA-4th)

·           Ryan Clary, Executive Director, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable

·           Daniel Raymond, Policy Director, Harm Reduction Coalition

·           Kate Moraras, Senior Program Director, Hepatitis B Foundation and Director, Hep B United

·           Professor Alicia Suarez, DePauw University, Bloomington, Indiana; Former hepatitis C patient