NASTAD (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors), Harm Reduction Coalition, and The AIDS Institute today called upon Congress to include $100 million in new funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Viral Hepatitis programs to confront the looming threat of infectious diseases linked to the opioid crisis.
“The CDC has documented 30 states determined to be experiencing, or at risk for, significant increases in viral hepatitis or an HIV outbreak due to injection drug use,” said Ann Lefert, NASTAD’s Senior Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. “Resource-strapped health departments are struggling to get ahead of a new wave of infections, and in desperate need of dedicated resources from Congress.”
A new CDC study demonstrates that a dramatic rise in new hepatitis C infections is linked to the opioid crisis. Between 2004 and 2014, admissions to drug treatment programs for patients who inject opioids increased by 93%, while acute hepatitis C infections rose in parallel by 133%. The sharpest increases in new hepatitis C cases were among 18- to 29-year olds – a staggering 400% rise over a ten-year period.