The USPHS Commissioned Corps announced the change on December 1, which was World AIDS Day. Previously, HIV and hepatitis B infection were both considered disqualifying medical conditions. This new decision reflects the latest scientific evidence and opens the door for applicants with hepatitis B and HIV to serve as uniformed Public Health Service officers.
The Hepatitis B Foundation became aware of the prohibition of applicants with hepatitis B in late 2020, when an individual with hepatitis B applied to serve but was denied due to his hepatitis B infection and contacted the Foundation. Since then, the Foundation has worked alongside partners advocating for a change in this policy. Hepatitis B Foundation leadership met with senior administration officials to raise awareness and urge them to prioritize this issue. Through legislative advocacy, the Foundation was able to get report language included in the FY 2022 House Labor-HHS Appropriations report urging the USPHS to allow officers with hepatitis B to serve in the Commissioned Corps.
Hepatitis B Foundation issued a press release. Find it here!
Up to 2.4 million people in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis B and most are unaware of their infection. The month of May is designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month, with May 19th marking Hepatitis Testing Day! Organizations across the country dedicate this month to increasing awareness about viral hepatitis as well as promoting vaccination and testing.
We are excited to share resources and opportunities for everyone to get involved in their community this month. Check out our Hepatitis Awareness Month Events Guide to find a local organization and event near you and the CDC’s Hepatitis Awareness Month and Testing Day webpage that highlights the resources available for Hepatitis Awareness Month.
Visit and connect with Hep B United local partners for more opportunities to get involved!
Hep B United operates in 22 states, 30 cities and Washington, D.C.
Cross-posted from HepB.org
Aug. 13, 2021 – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded a $1.375 million, five-year grant to the Hepatitis B Foundation to continue leading and expanding Hep B United, a nationwide coalition that operates in collaboration with the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO).
Hep B United is dedicated to reducing the health disparities associated with hepatitis B. With the new funding, the Foundation and AAPCHO will build the capacity of community coalitions to increase hepatitis B education and testing and improve linkage to care in a culturally and linguistically responsive manner for communities disparately impacted, including Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, African Immigrants and persons who inject drugs.
Hep B United is composed of 50 national organizations and local community coalitions in 22 states, 30 cities and Washington, D.C. It promotes cross-sector partnerships between community organizations, health departments and Federally Qualified Health Centers, and has been building the capacity of multi-sectoral community coalitions to address hepatitis B in a nationally coordinated manner.
Continue reading CDC awards a $1.375 million, five-year grant to the Hepatitis B Foundation for expansion of Hep B United, a nationwide coalition →
Cross-posted from nvhr.org
NVHR joined our partners at NASTAD, Hepatitis B Foundation, and Hep B United to host a virtual Viral Hepatitis Policy Summit and Hill Day on February 17 & 18. The virtual event was an opportunity for advocates and federal partners to share information and engage in discussion about strategies and priorities at the federal level to eliminate viral hepatitis.
Over 100 advocates from around the country participated in the Viral Hepatitis Policy Summit, making it the largest one ever. The advocates heard from and engaged with CDC & HHS officials on a range of topics, including viral hepatitis elimination planning, health equity, strategies to expand hepatitis B & C testing and hepatitis A & B vaccination, the impact of COVID-19, scaling up comprehensive harm reduction and syringe services programs (SSPs) for people who inject drugs, and the importance of robust funding.
Several advocacy priorities surfaced during the summit. Advocates highlighted the importance of moving towards universal hepatitis B testing and vaccination; addressing Medicaid barriers and restrictions to treatment and access to care; advancing innovative viral hepatitis testing technologies; addressing stigma and discrimination; supporting people who use drugs; and maintaining a strong health equity lens in our goals and messaging.
Continue reading 2021 VIRAL HEPATITIS POLICY SUMMIT & HILL DAY →
Cross-posted from HepVu.org
Kate Moraras is the Deputy Director of Public Health at the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Director of Hep B United.
Q: You currently work as Deputy Director of Public Health at the Hepatitis B Foundation and as the director of Hep B United. How did you first become involved in Hepatitis B and how has the field changed in recent years?
When I first started working in the Hepatitis B field, I was on a fellowship at the Office of Minority Health with the Department of Health and Human Services. I was already familiar with Hepatitis B and understood that it was the single greatest health disparity for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at the time. I became more engaged with this issue over time and eventually made my way to the Hepatitis B Foundation. Coincidentally, when I started with the foundation, I learned that I had an uncle who is living with Hepatitis B. Ever since, my professional dedication to Hepatitis B knowledge and engagement became more personal.
In recent years, conversations about Hepatitis B have evolved. Originally, Hepatitis B was generally known as an Asian American health issue since more than half of chronic Hepatitis B cases in the U.S. are amongst Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (who only make up about 6% of the U.S. population). However, in the past 6 years or so, Hepatitis B infections have steadily climbed amongst rural communities and younger populations – primarily due to injection drug use tied to the opioid epidemic. All this considered, I believe that Hepatitis B needs to be seen in the context of racial discrimination to align with the social justice conversations we’re having today. We have started to highlight these realities and are seeing prioritization of messages that encourage testing to address the gaps in adult hepatitis B vaccination rates.
Q: On May 5, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a draft recommendation statement, which recommends Hepatitis B screenings for adolescents and adults at increased risk for infection. In response to this draft rule, Hep B United and the Hepatitis B Foundation sent a letter urging the USPSTF to expand its recommendation to endorse universal Hepatitis B screenings for all adults. Why do you think that the current USPSTF risk-based Hepatitis B screening recommendation falls short?
These new screening guidelines are not effective. The Hepatitis B community is disappointed to see that the task force put out a recommendation that was quite similar to what has been in place since 2014, and did not encourage universal screening of all adults for Hepatitis B. Six years have passed, but we are not seeing the necessary changes being made. The USPSTF statement also mirrors what the CDC has been recommending for ten years: people who are high-risk should get screened. We have evidence that this is not enough. Estimates show that up to 75% of Hepatitis B-infected individuals remain undiagnosed. I think it’s time that we look at a universal screening recommendation because there are clearly gaps in risk-based screening.
Continue reading Vu Q&A: Kate Moraras on the Need for Universal Hepatitis B Screenings →
Cross-posted from HHS.gov Hepatitis Blog
While the United States is taking action to address recent spikes in acute viral hepatitis infections around the country, we must not forget the more than 2 million Americans living with chronic hepatitis B, over half unaware of their infection and at risk of developing liver disease, including liver cancer. Communities at risk of chronic hepatitis B infection are often the most vulnerable and face barriers to health care access including language, cultural, transportation, housing, and other social resource needs. There is a lot to learn from partners across the nation that can be useful when adapted to other communities.
What is Hep B United?
Recognizing the gaps in coordinated hepatitis B education, prevention, and linkage to care efforts, the Hep B United coalition was established in 2011 by the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) to provide a community network for sharing best practices, resources, and capacity building. Hep B United is a national coalition of over 40 national and community-based hepatitis B organizations in 31 cities, 21 states and the District of Columbia. The coalition is dedicated to reducing the health disparities associated with hepatitis B by increasing awareness, screening, vaccination, and linkage to care for high-risk communities.
How is Hep B United working toward hepatitis elimination?
From Mississippi to Ohio to California, local community coalitions comprised of health and social service organizations, local businesses, academic research institutions, federally qualified health centers, local and state health departments, student organizations, and others are working to:
- “find the missing millions” living with chronic hepatitis B in the United States;
- ensure that they are able to access sustainable medical care for their hepatitis B; and
- prevent the next generations from becoming infected.
Continue reading Uniting to Eliminate Hepatitis B in the United States →
In the U.S., African immigrants are disproportionately impacted by hepatitis B, with 5 to 18 percent of African immigrants estimated to be living with chronic hepatitis B and at increased risk of liver disease, liver cancer, and death.
As an extension of the Know Hepatitis B Campaign, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Coalition Against Hepatitis for People of African Origin (CHIPO) has released new educational materials focused on African immigrant communities.
Resources include a digital self-guided PowerPoint for community health workers; a printable flipchart for face-to-face community education; informational fact sheets; resources for locating hepatitis B testing; and a digital resource toolkit featuring #justB storytelling videos.
Access the materials here.
Join Hep B United on Wednesday, March 11th at 3:00 PM EST for a webinar to discuss why representation, including of persons living with hepatitis B, is essential to research, and communication and outreach strategies to improve diversity in clinical trials! Christine Lee, PharmaD, PhD, from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will be providing an overview of clinical trials recruitment and strategies to improve participation and Rhea Racho, MPAff, will discuss the Hepatitis B Foundation’s participation in the National Institute of Health’s All of Us Research Program and how the program is working to make medical research more inclusive.
Join us on January 29, 2020 at 11:00 AM EST for a webinar on Hepatitis Delta Treatment Endpoints: How Do We Measure Success in the Era of Emerging Therapies?
Hepatitis delta, a dangerous coinfection of hepatitis B, is estimated to affect between 15 and 70 million people across the world. For decades, the only treatment option has been pegylated interferon; an often difficult drug to tolerate with only a small chance of controlling liver disease. With many new drugs now in clinical trials for hepatitis delta, we must ask, what does successful treatment look like?
- How can we measure success?
- What does it mean to control hepatitis delta?
- Is a cure for hepatitis B the only ideal endpoint of treatment?
Join hepatitis delta expert, Dr. Ohad Etzion, as he outlines the challenges in controlling the disease, current clinical trials, and explores ideal endpoints for treatment and control of hepatitis B and delta coinfection.