O'Neill Institute | June 22, 2018
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (HHS) HAVE SET A GOAL TO ELIMINATE HEPATITIS C AS A PUBLIC HEALTH THREAT BY 2030.
Elimination of Hepatitis C in the U.S. would result in the significant reduction of the incidence of the infection – to the point where cases of the infection are rare and sporadic – as a result of deliberate efforts, with ongoing efforts to maintain the zero prevalence.
In 2017, HHS released its 2017-2020 Viral Hepatitis Action Plan to set the course for elimination of Hepatitis B and C in the U.S.
KEY GOALS OF THE PLAN TO WORK TOWARD ELIMINATION ARE BY 2020 TO:
- Decrease the number of new HCV infections by at least 60%
- Increase the number of persons aware of their HCV infection to 66%
- Reduce the number of HCV-related deaths by 25%
- Reduce the number of new HCV infections in persons ages 20-39 by at least 60%
THE AVAILABILITY OF CURATIVE HCV DRUG TREATMENTS COULD MAKE HEPATITIS C ELIMINATION A REALITY, BUT ONLY IF THOSE INFECTED KNOW THEIR STATUS, GET TREATMENT, AND COMPLETE THE COURSE OF THERAPY.
ELIMINATION OF HEPATITIS C IS FEASIBLE, BUT CRITICAL BARRIERS MUST FIRST BE ADDRESSED:
- Poor Surveillance for HCV
- Too few people know their status/inadequate screening
- High Cost of HCV treatment drugs
- Stigma associated with HCV infection
- Public opinion that does not deem HCV as a public health priority, due to misinformation and lack of awareness of the illness
- Read the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan here.