May is Viral Hepatitis Month
Here are some facts to support Viral Hepatitis Month:
- CDC released new surveillance data on viral hepatitis in the US. It shows that between 2015 and 2016, the number of reported cases of HCV increased by 21.8%. The data confirm that high rates of injection drug use, lack of access to sterile equipment, and the unavailability of testing and treatment for lower-income and incarcerated people continue to drive a sprawling epidemic of viral hepatitis.
- An estimated 5 million Americans are infected by the hepatitisC virus, which is now the most common cause of death by an infectious disease.
- Globally, there are 1.34M deaths per year from viral hepatitis, which is comparable to the number that dies of malaria, HIV and TB. Mortality has increased by 22% since 2000.
- Unsafe injections have been repeatedly reported from 7 out of 11 countries that carry 50% global burden of hepatitis.
- 30-40% of new hepatitis B&C in developing countries is due to syringe reuse.
World Hepatitis Summit
We were thrilled to participate in the World Hepatitis Summit in Sao Paulo Brazil in November. There were 900 delegates from over 100 countries. It was the launch of NOhep2030. NOhep2030 is a multipronged campaign that encourages prevention, testing, and treatment. A big part of prevention is injection safety. Here is a video recap at this important summit.
NOhep2030 is a campaign to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. The campaign is doable because there is now a vaccine for Hepatitis B and cost effective cure for Hepatitis C. My husband and I are thrilled to be part of this effort. As youngsters, our earliest participation in public health was to be part of massive polio vaccination. We think it would be very cool to see within our lifetimes the elimination of two deadly diseases – polio and viral hepatitis.
We will need everyone’s participation to eliminate viral hepatitis. I urge you to visit NOhep.org to see what you can do to help.