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Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

Please join HHS and our public health partners across the Nation in observing Hepatitis Awareness Month in May.

Hepatitis is a hidden epidemic with significant public health consequences.

  • An estimated 3.5-5.3 million persons are living with viral hepatitis in the United States, and millions more are at risk for infection.
  • Because viral hepatitis can persist for decades without symptoms, 65%-75% of infected Americans remain unaware of their infection status and are not receiving care and treatment.
  • Hepatitis (which is largely preventable), is the leading cause of liver cancer. Without timely care, 1 in 4 persons with chronic hepatitis will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis

Building on the success of the nation’s first comprehensive cross-agency action plan, released in 2011, Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice (DOJ), and Veterans Affairs (VA) released a 3-year update of the plan in April 2014.

The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan builds on the foundation of and momentum generated by the original action plan and seeks to harness:

  • New recommendations for health care providers regarding screening for hepatitis C;
  • Promising new developments in treatments for hepatitis C;
  • Mounting public awareness of and concern about hepatitis B and hepatitis C; and
  • The expansion of access to viral hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, care, and treatment offered by the Affordable Care Act.

The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan details more than 150 actions to be undertaken between 2014 and 2016 by 14 federal agencies or offices from across four federal departments. Those actions are organized around six priority areas.

The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan underscores that its national goals cannot be achieved through federal action alone. Envisioning active involvement of and innovation by a broad mix of nonfederal stakeholders from various sectors, both public and private, the plan provides a framework and focus around which all key stakeholders can engage to strengthen the nation’s response to viral hepatitis and seeks to leverage opportunities to improve the coordination of viral hepatitis activities across all sectors.

Read the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016 (PDF 2MB).

Download a factsheet (PDF 714KB) about the updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.

Read the press statement about the updated plan.

Read more about the Action Plan and progress being made to implement it.