Online Program

A Systematic Analysis of Novel Public Health Policies to Combat Hepatitis C Virus in the United States: Implications for China

Monday, November 2, 2015

Yuqi Guo, MSW, School of Social Work, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Omar Sims, PhD, School of Social Work, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Background: Globally, nearly 185 million are living with hepatitis C (virus) infection. China alone has more HCV-infected persons (25 million) than Europe, and North and South America combined. Although the number of HCV cases in China is six-fold higher than the United States, the epidemiology of HCV is quite similar in both countries. The objectives of this study are to identify and analyze newly implemented public health policies in the United States designed to combat HCV, and to describe the potential benefit of similar policy adaptions by public health policymakers in China.

Methods: Newly implemented HCV policy recommendations from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US Preventive Services Task Force were systematically identified and reviewed for analysis.

Results: Novel HCV policies included 1) expansion of HCV testing recommendations to identify undiagnosed cases of HCV among high prevalent populations (i.e. persons born between 1945-1965, HIV-infected persons, and persons with injection drug use histories), 2) augmentation of medical coverage for HCV testing (i.e. upgrading HCV testing from grade C to grade B), and 3) community level, federally-funded campaigns to increase HCV awareness in the general population, among medical providers, and healthcare systems.   

Discussion: It is plausible implementation of similar public health policies in China would enhance HCV awareness, access to care, and linkage to care and treatment. Global reductions in HCV morbidity and mortality cannot be realized without the advent of novel public health policies in China.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the prevalence and incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in China. Discuss the adverse impact of low awareness of HCV in China’s healthcare system and at the population level. Identify newly implemented HCV-related policies and recommendations in the United States that public health policymakers in China may adopt to combat the HCV epidemic in China.

Keyword(s): Hepatitis C, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have developed an expertise in HCV-associated liver disease and public health management of HCV in both the United States and China. I assisted with conceptualization of this paper and I am one of the co-authors.
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.

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