Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer and need for liver transplant in the U.S. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.5-5.3 million people are living with viral hepatitis. In 2013, more people died of hepatitis C than all 60 other infectious diseases reported to the CDC combined. These outcomes can be prevented if people are aware of their status and take action. The good news is that vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B, and curative treatments are available for hepatitis C.
However, viral hepatitis often has no symptoms, so people may have the virus and not feel sick. An estimated 65-75% of people with chronic viral hepatitis do not know that they are infected, leaving them at greater risk for severe, even fatal, complications from the disease and increasing the chance that they will spread the virus to others.
Interested in learning more? Check out some of the resources below and join us for a webinar this Thursday at 11:30 AM to learn how you can increase awareness in your community about Viral Hepatitis.
Know the Basics on Viral Hepatitis & Opportunities under the Affordable Care Act
Many preventive services, including vaccination and screening, are available without cost sharing. Here are some resources to help understand why viral hepatitis is such an important public health issue and what people can do to prevent the spread of viral hepatitis.
- Healthfinder.gov offers information on health topics from A to Z, and you can visit the myhealthfinder page to learn more about which preventive services, like viral hepatitis, you or a loved one may need.
- Visit CDC’s viral hepatitis page to learn the facts and what you can do to protect yourself and others. Follow @cdchep on Twitter to receive information from CDC about viral hepatitis resources, tools, publications, campaign updates, and events.
- Learn more about recommended preventive services for viral hepatitis that are covered without cost-sharing. Visit vaccines.gov to learn more about the vaccine for hepatitis B, the first anti-cancer vaccine.
- The Food and Drug Administration’s Hepatitis B and C page for patients provides basic information as well as important updates on product approvals, notices of upcoming public meetings, and other tools.
Connect your Community around Hepatitis Awareness events
Awareness Days are a great opportunity to engage your communities and encourage congregants to take control of their health. Faith and community leaders can organize testing events, have a patient speak to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, or deliver their own sermon about viral hepatitis.
- May 19th is Hepatitis Testing Day, and May is Hepatitis Awareness Month. Visit CDC’s National Hepatitis Testing Day page to register your event or find an event near you.
- July 28th is World Hepatitis Day. Visit the World Hepatitis Alliance’s page to learn more.
Educate and Empower your Community
- Encourage congregants to take the 5-minute risk assessment. This free tool is quick and easy to use and will empower congregants to talk to their health care providers about viral hepatitis.
- CDC’s fact sheets and other materials provide information on viral hepatitis testing and diagnosis, so patients will know more about what to expect.
- Provide free educational materials to your congregants. CDC’s Know More Hepatitis campaign includes free posters, infographics, and other tools that you can have mailed to you or download.
- Learn more about the national response to viral hepatitis in the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016). Learn more about what community organizations and advocates can do in theStakeholders’ workbook.
- Visit www.aids.gov/hepatitis for updates on the national Action Plan, highlights on new research, and viral hepatitis awareness opportunities for your community.