Today, the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) joins our partners in the United States and around the globe in recognizing World Hepatitis Day. This day allows us to remember those we’ve lost and to recommit ourselves to fighting on behalf of the 325 million people worldwide living with hepatitis B and C and those at risk for infection.
The recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has created much hope and energy focused on eliminating the public health threat of hepatitis B and C in the United States by 2030. NVHR expects the United States, with its significant resources, to lead the global elimination effort. To do so, however, will require a commitment to communities that are often poorly served and under attack in this country, including immigrants, communities of color, people who use drugs, veterans, and people in the criminal justice system. We have an opportunity right now to show these communities that we value their lives and health and we are approaching the movement to eliminate hepatitis not only as a broad public health campaign but as a conscious effort to help end health inequities in this country.
Sadly, the current political environment is impacting our ability to protect what we’ve gained in the fight against viral hepatitis, let alone mount an elimination campaign. The health care safety net that is the foundation for elimination is under grave threat. We must do everything we can to protect and improve access to quality, affordable health care. Also, many communities most impacted by hepatitis B and hepatitis C have been under relentless attack in this environment. Policies and rhetoric that further racial injustice, take away immigrants’ rights and health care, impose discriminatory restrictions to hepatitis C treatment access, and fail to address the opioid crisis from a humane and a public health perspective all directly impact people with hepatitis B and C.
NVHR encourages you to take a few minutes on this important day and urge your Members of Congress to take action on behalf of people living with and at risk for hepatitis B and C. Tell them to:
Support funding for the Division of Viral Hepatitis at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a minimum of $70 million in the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill.
Work in a bipartisan manner to increase access to quality, affordable health care, particularly in the Medicaid program.
Working together, we will achieve the goal of eliminating hepatitis B and C. Thank you for all you do to end the suffering caused by viral hepatitis.