CDC Features Viral Hepatitis on List of Winnable Battles
In the United States, more than 3 million people are living with viral hepatitis, and around 65,000 people are newly infected every year. Of these, an estimated 2.4 million people are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Although HCV is curable, only about 56% of adults living with HCV know they are infected. An estimated additional 862,000 people are living with hepatitis B virus (HBV). While HBV is vaccine preventable and treatable, only about 32% of adults living with HBV know they are infected.
Today, viral hepatitis is an urgent public health challenge made worse by the opioid crisis. New infections and outbreaks are on the rise, a growing number of infants are at risk, and there are significant health disparities. The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) addition of viral hepatitis to the Winnable Battles list reflects that it is a public health priority with large-scale impact on health and known effective strategies to address its prevalence. By identifying priority strategies, defining clear targets, and working closely with public health partners, significant progress can be made in reducing the health burden from diseases like hepatitis.
The CDC’s goal is to reduce new viral hepatitis infections and decrease deaths associated with viral hepatitis is in alignment with the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan (Action Plan). The Action Plan amplifies national efforts to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States, and details strategies to involve stakeholders from various sectors, including federal, state and local; both public and private.
Some opportunities outlined by the Action Plan include:
- Engaging new partners across communities to break the silence around viral hepatitis.
- Creating education campaigns to raise awareness and encourage testing for those at risk.
- Ensuring that those who need care and treatment can get it.
To view more information about CDC’s Winnable Battles, visit https://www.cdc.gov/winnablebattles/index.html.