Viral hepatitis is a major public health threat both here in the United States and across the globe. So, this World Hepatitis Day, I join the global effort to raise awareness of the impact of viral hepatitis. Simply put, we can’t wait to eliminate viral hepatitis. With more than 350 million people are living with viral hepatitis globally and more than one million deaths worldwide each year, we must be focused on eliminating this terrible disease.
World Hepatitis Day takes place every year on July 28, and this year the theme is “I Can’t Wait”, highlighting the need to accelerate the fight against viral hepatitis and the importance of testing and treatment for people who need it. Viral hepatitis is a serious, yet preventable condition, with viral hepatitis B and C infections as the leading cause of liver cancer.
We have the tools and strategies to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat across the world and I can’t wait to put them into use. In creating the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan 2021-2025, HHS aligned with the 2030 global targets set by the World Health Organization’s Global Health Sector Strategies on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections 2022-2030, such as a:
- 90% hepatitis B birth dose vaccination coverage for infants
- 90% diagnosis rate of hepatitis B
- 65% reduction in mortality from chronic HBV and chronic HCV infections
To reach our targets, we committed to a syndemic approach to address the interrelated epidemics of viral hepatitis, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections, which also intersect with mental health, stigma, and social determinants of health. We aim to take a collaborative, integrated, patient-centered approach, promoting synergies across disease areas, and working in partnership with you to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States. We know how to prevent, test, link to care, and treat hepatitis.
Join me in raising awareness of viral hepatitis by learning about ways to get involved in World Hepatitis Day and sharing WHD resources with your networks. Together, we can work to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat around the world. I can’t wait until we end hepatitis.