Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis
Building on the success of the nation’s first comprehensive cross-agency action plan, released in 2011, Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice (DOJ), and Veterans Affairs (VA) released a 3-year update of the plan in April 2014.
The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan builds on the foundation of and momentum generated by the original action plan and seeks to harness:
- New recommendations for health care providers regarding screening for hepatitis C;
- Promising new developments in treatments for hepatitis C;
- Mounting public awareness of and concern about hepatitis B and hepatitis C; and
- The expansion of access to viral hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, care, and treatment offered by the Affordable Care Act.
The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan details more than 150 actions to be undertaken between 2014 and 2016 by 14 federal agencies or offices from across four federal departments. Those actions are organized around six priority areas.
The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan underscores that its national goals cannot be achieved through federal action alone. Envisioning active involvement of and innovation by a broad mix of nonfederal stakeholders from various sectors, both public and private, the plan provides a framework and focus around which all key stakeholders can engage to strengthen the nation’s response to viral hepatitis and seeks to leverage opportunities to improve the coordination of viral hepatitis activities across all sectors.
Read the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016) (PDF 2MB).
Download a factsheet (PDF 714KB) about the updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.
Read the press statement about the updated plan.
The updated Action Plan continues the pursuit of four overarching national goals to be achieved by 2020:
- Increase in the proportion of persons who are aware of their hepatitis B virus infection, from 33% to 66%
- Increase in the proportion of persons who are aware of their hepatitis C virus infection, from 45% to 66%
- Reduce by 25% the number of new cases of HCV infection
- Eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HBV
Action Plan Priority Areas
- Educate health care providers and communities to reduce health disparities
- Improve testing, care, and treatment to prevent liver disease and cancer
- Strengthen surveillance to detect viral hepatitis transmission and disease
- Eliminate transmission of vaccine-preventable viral hepatitis
- Reduce viral hepatitis caused by drug-use behaviors
- Protect patients and workers from health-care associated viral hepatitis
Read the Latest Blog Posts About the Action Plan
Blog posts about the Action Plan are shared via the AIDS.gov blog. Read the latest posts:
- Federal partners release 3-year update of Viral Hepatitis Action Plan (2014-2016) (PDF 2MB)
- Federal partners release 2012 Viral Hepatitis Action Plan Implementation Progress Report
- President Obama issues World Hepatitis Day proclamation
- New fact sheet from CDC - Hepatitis C: What to Expect When Getting Tested (PDF 1.2MB)
- Read the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan Interagency Implementation Progress Report--Year 1 (PDF 787KB) (released October 2012).
- President Obama releases 2012 World Hepatitis Day proclamation.
- CDC releases Know More Hepatitis campaign materials.
- CDC recommends one-time Hepatitis C screening for Americans born between 1945 and 1965.
- Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh featured on new poster urging Asian Americans to discuss testing for hepatitis B with their doctors (PDF 1.54MB).
- Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin promotes hepatitis awareness in new poster (PDF 999KB).
- New Fact Sheet on HIV &amnp Viral Hepatitis (PDF 742KB) from CDC, download and share.
- Read the summary report of the technical consultation on Hepatitis C Infection in Young Persons Who Inject Drugs (PDF 3.99MB)
Viral hepatitis is a silent epidemic in the United States. Although it is a leading infectious cause of death and claims the lives of 12,000–15,000 Americans each year, viral hepatitis remains virtually unknown to the general public, at-risk populations, and policymakers; even health-care providers often lack knowledge and awareness about these infections. As a consequence, most of the 3.5–5.3 million Americans living with viral hepatitis do not know that they are infected, placing them at greater risk for severe, even fatal, complications from the disease and increasing the likelihood that they will spread the virus to others. Viral hepatitis is a major cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer in the United States; persons living with viral hepatitis are at increased risk for both conditions.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is committed to ensuring that new cases of viral hepatitis are prevented and that persons who are already infected are tested; informed about their infection; and provided with counseling, care, and treatment. On May 12, 2011, HHS issued Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (PDF 672KB) which outlines 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. Some of these life-saving actions already are well underway. Other actions, representing innovations in practice, technology, and therapy, will require new strategic directions and commitment.
Learn More About Viral Hepatitis
Federal partners engaged in implementing the Action Plan offer more detailed information on the prevention, care and treatment of hepatitis B and C. Visit these specific sites for resources you can use:
- CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis
- CDC's Know More Hepatitis Campaign
- Food and Drug Administration
- HHS Office of Minority Health
- HHS Office on Women's Health
- NIH: Hepatitis Health Information
- U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs
- AIDS.gov: HIV and Viral Hepatitis Coinfection
Last revised: 04/03/2014