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.


Vu Q&A: Kate Moraras on the Need for Universal Hepatitis B Screenings

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

Uniting to Eliminate Hepatitis B in the United States

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

Join the Conversation on Liver Cancer Drivers and Disparities!

Please join the Global Liver Institute, American Gastroenterological Association, Hepatitis B Foundation, Hep B United, NASH kNOWledge, AAPCHO, NVHR, and NASTAD as they host a Congressional briefing titled, “Liver Cancer Drivers and Disparities.” The briefing will be held on Thursday, October 31st, from 10:30am to 12:00pm in Washington, DC (121 Cannon House Office Building).

Learn from our nation’s leading clinicians and patient advocates about the steps needed to combat the most rapidly rising cancer since 1980, and how response strategies must begin with modernizing the systems in place to better meet the needs of impacted populations.

Join the conversation on Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/hepbfoundation  on October 31, 2019 at 10:30 am Eastern Time.

Opening Remarks:
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (NY)

Donna Cryer, JD, President & CEO, Global Liver Institute (GLI), Washington, DC


  • Tony Villiotti, President, NASH kNOWledge, GLI A3 Patient Advocate, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Dr. Richard Sterling, MD, MSc, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD, VCU Hepatology Professor of Medicine, Chief, Section of Hepatology, Director, Viral Hepatitis, Medical Director, Department of Internal Medicine, VCU Medical School, AGA, Richmond, VA
  • Valerie Green, NVHR Patient Advocate, Lancaster, VA
  • Dr. John Groopman, PhD, Anna M. Baetjer Professor & Associate Director for Population Sciences, Joint Appointment in Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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:

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