FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2011
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement from Kathleen G. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Dr. Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, on World Hepatitis Day, July 28, 2011
On World Hepatitis Day we reaffirm our commitment to combating chronic viral hepatitis and raising awareness about this serious condition. Viral hepatitis affects as many as 5.3 million Americans. Many people who have the disease don’t know they are infected, putting them at greater risk for severe – or even fatal – complications. Fortunately many cases of viral hepatitis are preventable and, effective treatments are available for those living with the disease.
To help raise awareness about viral hepatitis, provide a roadmap for coordination across the government, and foster collaboration with our partners, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released, “Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.” The plan outlines concrete strategies to prevent new cases of viral hepatitis and ensure that people who are already infected receive the testing, counseling, care, and treatment they need. With early detection, many people can limit the disease’s progression, prevent cancer deaths, and help break the cycle of unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.
The Affordable Care Act has also become another vital weapon in our fight against viral hepatitis. By expanding health insurance coverage, the health care law is improving patient access to comprehensive viral hepatitis-related prevention and treatment services.
We encourage you to learn more about viral hepatitis today and throughout the year. Have a conversation with your health care provider if you have questions about testing or believe you may need treatment. Working together, we will make huge strides in fighting this disease.
For more information about viral hepatitis risks, prevention, treatment and related information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/
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Last revised: July 28, 2011