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The new Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan for the United States commits the U.S. to viral hepatitis elimination goals for the first time and will inform hepatitis elimination efforts across the country
Washington, D.C. (January 7, 2021) – The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), a national coalition working to eliminate viral hepatitis, today applauded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for committing the U.S. to viral hepatitis elimination goals for the first time as a part of the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan for the United States: A Roadmap to Elimination (2021-2025) (Hepatitis Plan). The Hepatitis Plan is a crucial element to advancing elimination efforts and will serve as a framework for government, the healthcare sector, and nonprofit organizations to implement strategies to address rising hepatitis cases.
“The Hepatitis Plan comes as viral hepatitis cases continue skyrocketing and prevention and treatment efforts have stalled, especially among communities that are also disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Adrienne Simmons, Director of Programs at NVHR. “This framework, along with adequate funding, are critical to facilitate a whole-of-nation response to urgently and effectively end the viral hepatitis epidemic.”
In addition to committing the U.S. to hepatitis elimination goals, for the first time the Hepatitis Plan seeks to improve the collection and use of viral hepatitis data. Improved hepatitis surveillance is necessary to better strengthen the detection of and response to hepatitis outbreaks, and aligns with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plan to establish comprehensive national viral hepatitis surveillance.
The Hepatitis Plan also recognizes the syndemic of viral hepatitis, HIV, STIs, and substance use disorders, the mitigation of which will require integrated, interventional strategies that address whole-person health. The integrated approach is critical for the success of prevention and treatment strategies as the opioid use crisis continues driving increases in hepatitis cases.
“The Hepatitis Plan is a significant step forward towards eliminating viral hepatitis in the U.S., but federal and state policies that create barriers to hepatitis treatment and care must also be removed to facilitate its implementation. We urge the incoming Biden Administration to take action and set a proactive public health agenda that appropriately addresses and funds the syndemic of viral hepatitis, HIV, STIs, and substance use disorders,” added Daniel Raymond, Director of Policy at NVHR.
To read the National Hepatitis Plan, please visit www.hhs.gov/hepatitis.
About the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR)
The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, a program of HEP, is a national coalition working together to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States. NVHR’s vision is a healthier world without viral hepatitis. NVHR’s work is guided and informed by our beliefs and commitment to: Participation, Inclusiveness, Intersectionality, Health Equity, and Stigma Elimination. For more information, visit www.nvhr.org
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