The US National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan

Viral hepatitis can affect anyone. The amount of people infected with hepatitis in the United States is a growing epidemic that threatens the lives of millions of Americans.

Hepatitis: The Silent Killer

Hepatitis does not discriminate. People from all walks of life, adults, children, young people, race, religion, and all economic status are in danger of becoming infected with the silent killer, hepatitis.

In the United States, approximately 3.5 million people are infected with hepatitis C, and approximately 850,000 people are infected with hepatitis B.

Hepatitis is known as the silent killer, doing liver damage over the years before symptoms manifest. A person is often unaware they have a life-threatening disease, which can cause severe liver damage (cirrhosis), liver cancer, and liver failure.

The US National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan

Hepatitis B and C are the most common types of viral hepatitis in the United States and, therefore, are the primary focus of the US National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.

The HHS.gov states, “The National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan 2017-2020 Vision: The United States will be a place where new viral hepatitis infections have been eliminated, where all people with chronic hepatitis B and C know their status, and everyone with chronic hepatitis B and C has access to high-quality health care and curative treatments, free from stigma and discrimination”.1 The National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan promoted by the HHS.gov has outlined a proactive plan that can save millions of lives.

In a four-part goal outline, the HHS.gov lays out strategies and indicators to keep track of progress. The overall goal involves education, vaccination, testing, and treating people with hepatitis, which will ultimately reduce long-term healthcare costs, save lives, and eliminate a deadly health problem in the United States.

The National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan goals:

  1. Prevent new viral hepatitis infections
  2. Reduce deaths and improve the health of people living with viral hepatitis
  3. Reduce viral hepatitis health disparities
  4. Coordinate, monitor, and report on the implementation of viral hepatitis activities

We can all help

The fight against viral hepatitis is everyone’s battle. Everyone can take action by getting tested, sharing education information about hepatitis B and C and how to prevent it, and seeking treatment if they have hepatitis B or C. Address the opioid and injection drug epidemic by fostering education, prevention, testing, treatment, and programs to reduce infection.

Patients can share their journey with hepatitis, encouraging others to get tested and seek treatment. Education, prevention, testing, and early treatment will make a difference in reducing hepatitis B and C in the United States and save millions of lives.

Don’t ignore hepatitis, it doesn’t ignore you!

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