HIV+Hep welcomes first Hepatitis strategic plan that calls for elimination
Biden Administration & Congress Now Must Provide Leadership & Funding
Washington DC… The HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute applauds the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for today’s release of Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan for the United States: A Roadmap to Elimination (2021 – 2025), the first-ever plan that specifically calls for the elimination of viral hepatitis.
“We congratulate HHS for laying out a bold strategic plan that provides the necessary steps to end these infectious diseases that currently affect over 3.3 million people in the U.S.,”
said Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute and a person living with chronic hepatitis B. “Ending hepatitis A, B, and C is clearly doable through adequate prevention, including vaccines for hepatitis A and B, and through treatment for hepatitis B and curative medications for hepatitis C. Now, we must turn to implementation and commit the necessary resources to ensure there is adequate testing, surveillance, vaccination, and treatment programs to ensure the goals of elimination are met.”
The HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute and other hepatitis advocates are calling on the incoming Biden administration and the 117th Congress to prioritize hepatitis elimination and provide the necessary leadership and resources to implement the strategic plan. Currently, the U.S government provides only $39.5 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to carry out nationwide hepatitis programs. While the need is much higher, our request for FY2022 is at least $134 million.
“COVID-19 has educated the nation on how to address infectious diseases, now we must do the same for hepatitis. By utilizing many of the same principles and importantly, vaccines and treatments that have long been available, it is time for our government to make the necessary commitments to eliminate hepatitis,”
Incorporating the goal of ending hepatitis fulfills the U.S. commitment made by the Obama administration to the World Health Organization (WHO) in calling for ending hepatitis worldwide by achieving a 90 percent reduction in new chronic infections and a 65 percent reduction in mortality.
In comments submitted on the draft plan, HIV+Hep offered full support to HHS for the plan’s goals, objectives, and strategies and congratulated them for fully recognizing the syndemics of viral hepatitis and HIV and the urgency of addressing both infectious diseases to help achieve the goals of ending both epidemics in the U.S.