Hepatitis B Leaders Mark World Hepatitis Day with Pledge to Find the Missing Millions

Hep B United National Coalition Convenes in Washington DC for 7th Annual Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 2019) –Hep B United, a national coalition established by the Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) to address the silent epidemic of hepatitis B, will host its seventh annual summit in Washington, D.C., July 23rd to 25th. The summit brings together over 100 community leaders, advocates, and people with hepatitis B to promote screening and prevention strategies and advocate for equitable access to health care to further its mission to eliminate hepatitis B in the United States. Worldwide, nearly two-thirds of those infected with hepatitis B- over 200 million people- are unaware of that they are infected. Summit attendees will address ways to identify those “missing millions” who do not yet know that they are living with this often-silent disease.

Hepatitis B is caused by a virus and is the world’s most common, serious liver infection. It is also the deadliest vaccine-preventable disease, with nearly 1 million people dying each year from hepatitis B-related disease worldwide. In the United States, up to 2.2 million Americans are chronically infected with hepatitis B, yet most do not know it. Without early diagnosis and intervention, one in four people living with hepatitis B will die prematurely from liver failure or liver cancer.

“We can save millions of lives in the U.S. and worldwide by using the tools we have and building much-needed infrastructure to prevent, diagnose and treat hepatitis B,” said Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, senior vice president of the Hepatitis B Foundation and co-chair of Hep B United. “The annual Hep B United Summit brings our partners together to share best practices and develop strategies for the coming year to increase national attention and resources to address the epidemic of hepatitis B.”

The Hep B United summit is the largest convening of hepatitis B leaders from community coalitions, national nonprofit organizations, individuals and family members affected by hepatitis B, and public health agencies in the United States. Hep B United is comprised of more than 40 community coalitions across the country located in 29 cities, 20 states, and Washington, D.C. The summit is part of global events to mark World Hepatitis Day, observed each year on July 28th, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg, Nobel Laureate who discovered the hepatitis B virus and developed the first vaccine. The summit’s theme, “Eliminating Hepatitis B: Local Change, Global Impact,” includes sessions that share innovative local, national, and global programs to prevent, diagnose and treat hepatitis B. The summit will also feature #justB, Hepatitis B Foundation’s national storytelling campaign that tells the personal stories of people affected by hepatitis B to increase public awareness and combat stigma and discrimination.

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New Report: Increasing Hepatitis B Awareness and Prevention in the Nail Salon Workforce

North American Occupational Health and Safety Week (May 5-11) is a time to raise awareness about the importance of injury and illness prevention in the workplace! This week, we’re focusing on health and safety within the nail salon industry, specifically the risk for hepatitis B transmission and opportunities to increase awareness and education about hepatitis B among nail salon workers.

In the U.S., the nail salon workforce is comprised mostly of Vietnamese Americans, with many being immigrants. Refugee and immigrant communities are often susceptible to worker exploitation (including labor trafficking) and encounter cultural and linguistic barriers that may leave them vulnerable to occupational health and safety risks, including hepatitis B transmission.

During routine work, nail technicians may be exposed to a client’s blood or other bodily fluids. It is important for nail salon workers to take precautionary measures to protect themselves and their clients to prevent the potential spread of the hepatitis B virus. More importantly, the nail salon industry (including salon owners and state health departments or boards that regulate nail salons) should implement policies that support greater education, awareness, and prevention of hepatitis B transmission among its workforce.

In October of 2011, the American College of Gastroenterology urged the need for increased surveillance and information on disinfection and infectious disease prevention, particularly for hepatitis B and C in nail salons. Since then, no major research or analysis has been conducted to better understand hepatitis B transmission or the policies that protect nail salon workers. In a new report released by the Hepatitis B Foundation, “The Impact of Nail Salon Industry Policies and Regulations on Hepatitis B Awareness and Prevention,” we seek to further understand the nail salon industry landscape through analyzing state policies that govern nail salons and identify strategies to support increased hepatitis B education, awareness, and prevention.

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Hep B United Applauds Bipartisan Legislation to Combat the Opioid Crisis and Opioid Related Infectious Diseases

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 24, 2018) – Hep B United today released the following statement, commending Congress for working together to pass the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. The legislation was signed into law by the president, following overwhelming bipartisan Congressional support. The legislation supports a range of services, programs, and funding, across multiple federal agencies, to help combat the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic and related infectious diseases, including hepatitis B.

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act brings together several pieces of legislation focused on different aspects of the opioid epidemic, from promoting evidence-based prevention strategies, to researching new, non-addictive pain management drugs, and expanding access to substance use disorder treatment.

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Hep B United Endorses the Liver Illness Visibility, Education, and Research (LIVER) Act of 2018

WASHINGTON, DC (October 18, 2018) Hep B United strongly endorses the introduction of the Liver Illness Visibility, Education and Research (LIVER) Act of 2018. Introduced by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), the bill takes bold steps to increase investments in research, prevention, and awareness activities to address hepatitis B, which kills up to 1 million people a year, and liver cancer, which continues to grow in incidence and is the 2nd deadliest cancer worldwide. As hepatitis B is the major cause of liver cancer, research efforts to cure these two diseases are linked.

The LIVER Act will authorize $100 million a year for five years for prevention and awareness grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and authorize $45 million a year for five years for hepatitis B and liver cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bill includes significant provisions that will support and accelerate liver cancer and hepatitis B research, and will:

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