While we highlight May as Hepatitis Awareness Month, and remind people to get tested on May 19th, we should approach our work daily to end viral hepatitis, HIV, STIs, and drug addiction. Only by working together can we meet the goal to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.
Even before the Affordable Care Act reduced uninsured rates in our country, it required private insurers to cover essential preventive care at no cost to patients. But just as other pieces of the law require enforcement, so does this one. Today, many individuals face obstacles to accessing affordable treatments that prevent HIV despite insurers’ legal obligation to provide them and federal guidance requiring they be made freely available. In the fight to end the HIV epidemic, federal and state regulators must hold noncompliant health plans accountable to ensure that people can receive the medication and services they need to prevent HIV.
This year, roughly 14,000 Americans will die from hepatitis C, an infectious disease that can be cured by a simple pill in a matter of weeks. It’s infuriating that our government hasn’t done more to end this highly infectious disease that disproportionately impacts minorities and people struggling with substance use disorder. Curative drugs first hit the market in 2013. But hepatitis C cases actually rose 63 percent between 2015 and 2019, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.