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Over 50 viral hepatitis presentations featured at the American Public Health Association’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Atlanta

Over 12,000 public health professionals attended APHA's 2017 Annual Meeting. The meeting highlighted the importance of viral hepatitis to the public’s health.

APA 2017 Annual meeting and expo. Atlanta. November 4-8

Public health experts from around the world gathered in Atlanta in November to attend the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2017 Annual Meeting and Expo. APHA is one of the largest public health meetings in the world and attracts over 12,000 public health professionals.

This year’s meeting featured over 50 presentations related to viral hepatitis, highlighting its importance as a public health issue. “The APHA Annual Meeting program is always a microcosm of the challenges the public health community is facing,” said David Fouse, Director of Communications and Marketing at APHA. “Viral hepatitis is among those challenges and its significance is reflected in the many related scientific presentations at the meeting.”

The 2017 APHA meeting provided opportunities for public health professionals including researchers, policy makers, providers, community advocates and others to learn about the latest trends and research in viral hepatitis.  Public health partners are vital allies in the collective fight against viral hepatitis and the meeting provided an opportunity for people working on these important issues to come together and showcase their efforts.

The searchable meeting program is available online, and selected viral hepatitis presentations from the meeting are highlighted below.

  • An Innovative Public-Private Partnership to Implement a Health Communications Campaign and Increase Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection Testing Among High-risk Populations
    Asian Americans comprise only 5% of the U.S. population but represent half of the approximately 2.2 million cases of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections.  Educating Asian Americans about the importance of getting tested for HBV infection is an important priority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This presentation described a successful partnership between CDC and a national coalition to bring culturally competent in-language materials to Asian American communities. The partnership provided many local partners with in-language resources that otherwise would not be available.  This work may be useful for other health education efforts directed toward Asian Americans.
  • Is curative therapy for infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) reaching infected drug users?
    This presentation explored the availability of, and obstacles to curative HCV treatment among drug users in New Jersey. New HCV treatments have replaced interferon-based regimens, which have considerable toxicity and limited efficacy.  However, several factors, including expense, have contributed to their limited use among people who use drugs.  This session described a study looking at HCV treatment among patients of two long-term methadone and suboxone-based drug treatment centers in northern New Jersey that treat nearly 2,000 people who use drugs.
  • I don't know anything about it: LGBT youths' of color perceptions about HIV and Hepatitis risk factors
    This presentation described a study that qualitatively explored the perceived socio-behavioral risk factors that impact the health and well-being of adolescent lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in Brooklyn related to HIV and HCV.  LGBT youth of color are particularly vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and co-occurring HIV/HCV infection. Based on results of this study, LGBT youth seemed to be fairly knowledgeable and aware of HIV and the related risk factors, but were not able to identify any modes of transmission or risk factors for contracting hepatitis C.
  • Increasing Awareness of Hepatitis C Risk and Opioid Use Among Young People
    Due to an increase in new HCV infections among young people in NYC, Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA), a local coalition focused on reducing youth and young adult substance misuse, collaborated with local partners to develop a short film to educate youth on non-medical use of prescription drugs.  The poster presentation described how TYSA sought to explore innovative mediums to raise awareness of the consequences of opioid misuse, including HCV, among young people.

Viral hepatitis topics ranged from health disparities and the impact of the opioid epidemic on new HCV infections, to obstacles to expanding the use of the new, highly effective HCV treatments. Much of the viral hepatitis work presented at this year’s meeting was in line with the goals of the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan and the elimination of viral hepatitis in the United States. The large number of presentations on viral hepatitis at this year’s meeting illustrates the growing concern in the field of public health about the impacts of viral hepatitis in the United States.

Over 50 #viralhepatitis presentations were featured at @PublicHealth’s #APHA2017. Read the recap via @HHS_ViralHep: https://go.usa.gov/xnVb4

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Public Health and Safety