A statement by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases,
Ronald O. Valdiserri, MD, MPH
Federal partners have launched an updated Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016), building upon the nation’s first comprehensive cross-agency action plan to combat viral hepatitis.
The three-year renewal of the Action Plan builds upon the substantial progress accomplished since 2011 by agencies and offices from across the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as with our partners at the Departments of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs, to prevent new infections and improve the diagnosis, care and treatment of individuals living with chronic hepatitis C in the United States.
Between 3.5 and 5.3 million Americans are living with chronic viral hepatitis, and most of them do not know that they are infected. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States. In addition, it is a leading infectious cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of 12,000–18,000 Americans each year.
In recent years we have made significant progress in addressing these challenges. With the new advances in hepatitis C treatment, more widespread availability of safe and effective vaccines for hepatitis A and B, and more opportunities for testing for hepatitis C under the Affordable Care Act, we have arrived at a critical moment. By harnessing these and other developments, we have the potential to reduce the toll of viral hepatitis in the U.S. and save many lives.
Thanks to the outstanding commitment of our public and private partners, we are closer than ever to realizing the potential of this plan.
To access the full Action Plan for the Prevention Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016) visit www.aids.gov/hepatitis.