Rising tide or tsunami: Hepatitis c epidemic and the role of social work
Globally, 500 million people are estimated to be infected with the Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the CDC estimates that this life threatening health crisis affects 3.2 million Americans (CDC, 2012). HCV contributes to significant morbidity and mortality with about 1 million deaths due to liver disease (World Hepatitis Alliance, 2010). HCV is primarily contracted through IV drug use and blood transfusions and the majority of those infected (75%) are baby boomers who are five times more likely to be infected than other age groups. Many do not seek care because they don't know that they are infected since the incubation period for HCV can be decades long (Kamal, 2008). The CDC recommends that all adults born during 19451965 should receive testing for HCV. There is a lack of knowledge and awareness about HCV among healthcare and social services providers which is a major barrier to diagnosis and treatment. Future challenges to social work practice will be considerable as more adults are diagnosed with HCV. Social workers will likely see HCV positive individuals and their families accessing social services. Geriatric social workers will see increased caseloads as more baby boomers test positive for HCV. Substance abuse treatment providers need to understand treatment options as more diagnosed clients receive treatment. Utilizing an ecological framework we will examine the role of social work to provide education about HCV, help their client's access and evaluate their ever shifting treatment options, and provide counseling to those newly diagnosed and their families.
Advocacy for health and health education
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health
Describe Hepatitis C virus prevention, diagnosis and treatment across contexts using an ecological framework.
Identify the role of public health social workers in reducing stigma and providing information to social service providers on current Hepatitis C prevention, diagnosis and treatment efforts.
Discuss racial/ethnic health disparities in HCV treatment.
Keyword(s): Infectious Diseases, Social Work
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research in the areas of health policy and used ecological models to examine poor health outcomes among low income populations. I practiced social work policy and research for many years in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the New York State Department of Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.