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Background and History of the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan

The current Viral Hepatitis Action Plan is the nation’s third such plan.

Origin of the First U.S. Viral Hepatitis Action Plan (2011-2013)

On May 12, 2011, HHS issued the nation’s first action plan to better focus and coordinate our nation’s response to viral hepatitis. Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (PDF - 735 KB) was a three-year plan (2011-2013) that outlined robust and dynamic steps to increase viral hepatitis awareness and knowledge among health care providers and communities, and improve access to quality prevention, care, and treatment services for viral hepatitis.

While viral hepatitis was previously addressed by various federal research, prevention, care and treatment programs, much of this work was conducted independently, sometimes in isolation from related efforts. In January 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the report Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C, which recommended 22 specific steps to reduce the threats posed by chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Following the release of the IOM report, the Assistant Secretary for Health convened an interagency working group comprised of subject matter experts from various HHS agencies. This group was charged with reviewing the IOM recommendations and developing a comprehensive strategic Viral Hepatitis Action Plan for 2011 – 2013. Stakeholders from other federal agencies, professional societies; and state, Tribal, local, and community partners also provided critical input into the Action Plan which  set forth steps that federal agencies would undertake between 2011–2013 that would:

  • address IOM recommendations for viral hepatitis prevention, care, and treatment;
  • identify federal actions to improve viral hepatitis prevention and ensure that infected persons are identified and provided care and treatment; and
  • improve coordination of all viral-hepatitis–related activities across HHS and promote collaborations with other government agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Following its release, agencies and offices across HHS began working to implement the actions assigned to them in the Action Plan. To support these efforts, the Assistant Secretary for Health charged the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) with the responsibility for coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan. OHAIDP convened a Viral Hepatitis Implementation Group (VHIG) comprised of representatives from all the agencies and offices that had committed to actions in the Action Plan. The VHIG met repeatedly during the 3 years of implementing the Action Plan and served as representatives within their respective agencies and offices on matters related to viral hepatitis. Highlights of key accomplishments within each of the Action Plan’s six priority areas can be found in the annual progress reports.

Action Plan Updated for 2014-2016

Using the 2011 Action Plan as a framework, the federal partners engaged in the nation’s response to viral hepatitis developed a three-year update to the plan. The Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016) (PDF 5 MB) was released in April 2014 and detailed additional strategic actions to be undertaken beginning in 2014 and continuing through 2016. The Updated Action Plan built upon the substantial progress accomplished over the three prior years by agencies and offices across the Department of Health and Human Services as well as within the Departments of Justice and Veterans Affairs who worked to implement the original Action Plan. Substantial input from nonfederal stakeholders informed the update and it featured for the first time specific suggestions on ways in which nonfederal stakeholders could engage in complementary activities to help achieve the Action Plan’s goals. Since the release of the updated Action Plan, the VHIG has continued to meet and coordinate implementation of the Plan.

National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan 2017-2020

In early 2016, the Federal VHIG partners agreed that to sustain and further advance our collaborative work to combat viral hepatitis in the United States, the Action Plan would need to be updated for 2017 – 2020. This new phase of the nation’s fight against viral hepatitis in the United States responds to recent trends in viral hepatitis infections and deaths, as well as new and improved strategies for prevention, care, and treatment. The National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan 2017 – 2020 presents a vision, goals, strategies, and indicators that will be used to track progress toward the goals. The goals have been simplified and streamlined to make the Action Plan easier for stakeholders to use in a wide variety of settings and with many different populations. The Action Plan indicators can also be used by stakeholders to track progress in addressing viral hepatitis in states, local areas, health systems, clinics, and community organizations.  Learn more about the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan 2017 – 2020 here.

Content created by Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy
Content last reviewed on January 18, 2017