Online Program

National Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis – A policy framework for public health action on hepatitis C

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Corinna Dan, RN, MPH, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC, DC
Michelle Moses-Eisenstein, MPH, US Department of Health and Human Services, HHS, Washington, DC
In the U.S., up to 3.9 million people are living with chronic hepatitis C (HCV), yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of them are unaware of their infection.  Although viral hepatitis has been a public health problem in the U.S. for decades, the 2010 Institute of Medicine report, Hepatitis and Liver Cancer, highlighted that many people- including health care providers- remain unaware of viral hepatitis and recommended specific steps that the government and other stakeholders should take to increase awareness and address it.  In response to this report, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convened federal experts to develop a viral hepatitis strategy.  In 2011, HHS released the nation’s first national plan for viral hepatitis, Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (Action Plan).  

Updated for 2014-2016, the Action Plan serves as a framework to accomplish four overarching national goals by 2020: 1) Increase the proportion of persons who are aware of their HBV infection from 33% to 66%, 2) Increase the proportion of persons who are aware of their HCV infection from 45% to 66%, 3) Reduce the number of new cases of HCV infection by 25%, and 4) Eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HBV.

The plan is organized around 6 priority areas that seek to: 1) confront viral hepatitis by breaking the silence, 2) take full advantage of existing tools, 3) collect accurate and timely information to get the job done, 4) take full advantage of vaccines that can prevent hepatitis A and B, 5) stop the speard of viral hepatitis associated with drug use, and 6) ensure safe health care delivery.

The Action Plan emphasizes that its national goals on to address HCV cannot be achieved through federal action alone and that active involvement of and innovation by a broad mix of stakeholders from various sectors, both public and private is essential. While momentum has been building slowly, with preventive HCV screening available under the Affordable Care Act without cost-sharing and game-changing HCV treatments with cure rates of over 90%, we must continue to increase HCV diagnoses and improve linkage to care and treatment to reduce liver disease, liver cancer and deaths due to HCV.    

The Action Plan’s companion document, the Stakeholders’ Workbook provides a questions-based tool to assist health departments, community organizations, and other stakeholders to identify opportunities to advance and promote the goals of the Action Plan. 

To achieve the goals of the Action Plan, we must work to engage new partners and develop strong collaborations so that we can more effectively raise awareness, reduce stigma, and address the barriers to accessing HCV treatment.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain the role and value of the national action plan in addressing viral hepatitis in the U.S.. Describe how the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan Stakeholder’s Workbook can increase community engagement in the Action Plan.

Keyword(s): Hepatitis C, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a public health nurse with over 14 years experience. I work to implement the national Viral Hepatitis Action Plan within HHS Ofc of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy. Previously, I trained on viral hepatitis prevention and recommended services at the Chicago Department of Public Health. Among my scientific interests is the development of strategies to improve hepatitis C awareness, testing, and access to treatment in priority populations including persons born 1945-1965.
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.