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

CDC, Hepatitis B Foundation, and CHIPO Release New African Know Hepatitis B Materials

In the U.S., African immigrants are disproportionately impacted by hepatitis B, with 5 to 18 percent of African immigrants estimated to be living with chronic hepatitis B and at increased risk of liver disease, liver cancer, and death.

As an extension of the Know Hepatitis B Campaign, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Coalition Against Hepatitis for People of African Origin (CHIPO) has released new educational materials focused on African immigrant communities.

Resources include a digital self-guided PowerPoint for community health workers; a printable flipchart for face-to-face community education; informational fact sheets; resources for locating hepatitis B testing; and a digital resource toolkit featuring #justB storytelling videos.

Access the materials here.

Improving Diversity in Clinical Trials for Hepatitis B Treatments

Join Hep B United on Wednesday, March 11th at 3:00 PM EST for a webinar to discuss why representation, including of persons living with hepatitis B, is essential to research, and communication and outreach strategies to improve diversity in clinical trials! Christine Lee, PharmaD, PhD, from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will be providing an overview of clinical trials recruitment and strategies to improve participation and Rhea Racho, MPAff, will discuss the Hepatitis B Foundation’s participation in the National Institute of Health’s All of Us Research Program and how the program is working to make medical research more inclusive.

Register here.

Hepatitis Delta Treatment Endpoints: How Do We Measure Success in the Era of Emerging Therapies?

Join us on January 29, 2020 at 11:00 AM EST for a webinar on Hepatitis Delta Treatment Endpoints: How Do We Measure Success in the Era of Emerging Therapies?

Hepatitis delta, a dangerous coinfection of hepatitis B, is estimated to affect between 15 and 70 million people across the world. For decades, the only treatment option has been pegylated interferon; an often difficult drug to tolerate with only a small chance of controlling liver disease. With many new drugs now in clinical trials for hepatitis delta, we must ask, what does successful treatment look like?

  • How can we measure success?
  • What does it mean to control hepatitis delta?
  • Is a cure for hepatitis B the only ideal endpoint of treatment?

Join hepatitis delta expert, Dr. Ohad Etzion, as he outlines the challenges in controlling the disease, current clinical trials, and explores ideal endpoints for treatment and control of hepatitis B and delta coinfection.

Register here.

New Webinar: Improving Access to Hepatitis B Treatments

Please join the Hep B United Coalition on December 10, 2019 at 2:00 PM EST for a webinar to discuss access to hepatitis B treatments.

The 2020 Open Enrollment Period is here! As individuals, organizations, and patient navigators search for the best health insurance plans, join this session to learn about discriminatory practices by some health plans that may impact persons living with hepatitis B, including “adverse drug tiering” and the use of “co-pay accumulators.”

Panelists will discuss research findings of hepatitis B treatments offered by health plans, resources for prescription assistance, and provide an overview of and opportunities to get involved in federal and state legislative advocacy efforts to combat discriminatory practices by health insurers.

Register here.

Speakers:
Michaela Jackson, Public Health and Outreach Program Coordinator, Hepatitis B Foundation

Rachel Klein, Health Policy Manager, The AIDS Institute

New Webinar: Hepatitis B Testing and Vaccination Programs in Correctional Facilities

Please join NASTAD’s Hepatitis Testing Partnership and Hep B United on November 12, 2019 at 2:00 PM EST for a webinar to discuss efforts to increase hepatitis B testing and vaccination in correctional facilities.

In the U.S., rates of acute hepatitis B infection among adults are on the rise in many states as a consequence of the opioid crisis. Individuals at risk for hepatitis B infection and recommended for hepatitis B testing include injection-drug users, persons infected with HIV, and persons born in geographic regions with a hepatitis B prevalence of >2%, among others.

Incarcerated persons often have a disproportionate burden of infectious diseases, including hepatitis B infection. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends universal hepatitis B vaccination of adults in high-risk settings including correctional facilities. In this webinar, panelists will share efforts to increase hepatitis B testing and vaccination in state jails and prisons in Maine, Oregon, and Tennessee.

Register here

Speakers:
Jeff Caulfield, MPH, Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Rebecca Lakey, RNI Viral Hepatitis Prevention Program, East Tennessee Regional Health Office, Tennessee Department of Health

Judith Leahy, MPH, Viral Hepatitis Coordinator, Public Health Division, Oregon Health Authority

Ann A. Chakwin, PhD, Health Promotion Program Coordinator, Oregon Department of Corrections

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)

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

Panelists:

  • 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

Webinar: National and State Initiatives to Prevent Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer

October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month! Did you know that in the U.S., the rates of liver cancer incidence and deaths are increasing while most other cancer rates have declined or stabilized? Please join Hep B United on October 21, 2019 at 1:00 PM EDT for a webinar to discuss the link between hepatitis B and liver cancer.

In the U.S., up to 2.2 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B infection, only 25 percent are aware of their infection, and less than 10 percent of infected individuals are able to access care and receive treatment. Left untreated, hepatitis B can lead to premature death from liver cancer or liver failure. Panelists will discuss liver cancer and its risk factors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, and promising state-based initiatives and strategies for liver cancer prevention, including hepatitis B vaccination awareness and provider education activities.

Register here.

Speakers:

Behnoosh Momin, DrPH, MS, MPH, Health Scientist, CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

Charlene Cariou, MHS, CPH, CHES, Health Program Manager, Comprehensive Cancer Control, Division of Public Health, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Jacki Chen, #justB Storyteller and Patient Advocate

Hepatitis B Foundation Calls for Increased Resources for Hepatitis B Prevention in Response to CDC 2017 Surveillance Data Report

The Hepatitis B Foundation is calling for increased resources to improve hepatitis B vaccination rates and educate high-risk communities, in response to newly-released viral hepatitis surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC released the 2017 surveillance data on September 10, showing an estimated 22,000 new acute hepatitis B cases, an increase over the previous year. Thirty-two states saw increases in reported acute hepatitis B, continuing an upward trend over the past several years, with the highest rates among non-Hispanic White adults age 40-49. These increases are likely driven by the opioid crisis as well as low vaccination rates among adults.

CDC also reported that in 2017, there was a slight increase in overall mortality related to hepatitis B. Alarmingly, mortality rates increased for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), who shoulder a disproportionate burden of chronic hepatitis B infection. The 2017 death rate for AAPIs was over 5 times higher compared to other groups. Non-Hispanic Blacks also had increased mortality related to hepatitis B, possibly due to high rates of chronic hepatitis B in African immigrant communities.

Currently, only 25% of adults are protected from hepatitis B. Resources are needed to increase adult hepatitis B vaccination in the U.S., to prevent new cases of this serious liver infection.

“The newly released data confirm that while we have made strides in preventing hepatitis B, the trend of increasing acute hepatitis B cases in the U.S. continues. It is critical that we address hepatitis B as a serious consequence of the opioid crisis, by increasing activities and resources to improve vaccination, and ensuring that providers and public health professionals working in high-risk communities include hepatitis B education, testing and vaccination as part of their programming,” said Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, Senior Vice President at the Hepatitis B Foundation.

“As we work towards hepatitis B elimination in the U.S., we must not forget the communities impacted the most by chronic hepatitis B infection,” said Kate Moraras, MPH, Senior Program Director, Hepatitis B Foundation. “It is disheartening to see continued disparities and increased deaths due to hepatitis B among AAPIs and African communities. We must improve hepatitis B testing and care for those chronically infected. Only through diagnosis, management and treatment can we save lives.”