Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West September 25, 2019

NASTAD Updates

You still have time—what are you waiting for?!

Call for Abstracts: NASTAD Integrated HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting

NASTAD’s Integrated HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting will take place from December 3-5, 2019 in Washington, DC. We strongly encourage you to submit abstracts that highlight your hepatitis programmatic and policy work. If you’re engaged in interesting or innovative work in collaboration with your HIV and/or STI colleagues, please consider a joint submission. Not sure you want to present? You can also propose to lead a discussion on something that you would like to learn more about and/or are trying to figure out how to approach in your work. Deadline: September 29. Click here to submit.

Getting to Know our HepTAC Consultants
Put your sunglasses on because this spotlight is on Danica Kuncio, another one of our shining star HepTAC consultants!

Danica Kuncio lives in Philadelphia, PA where she was born and raised. She received her MPH in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases from the Yale School of Public Health, before returning to her home city to work for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. There she became the Viral Hepatitis Program Epidemiologist, helping to develop the surveillance capacity for hepatitis B and hepatitis C in Philly, and spearheading the development of the Perinatal Hepatitis C Program. In 2017, she became the Viral Hepatitis Program Manager. Working in this capacity she aims to integrate prevention, policy, surveillance and epidemiology, and community outreach activities to best serve Philly residents and eliminate hepatitis B and C infections. When not proudly working with local, statewide, and national partners she enjoys running, reading, cooking, and spending time with her son and husband!

Request TA through HepTAC and we’ll match your needs with the expertise of our consultants. Be on the lookout in upcoming newsletters as we continue to highlight the unique skills and expertise of HepTAC’s consultants.


2019 National Viral Hepatitis Progress Report

This month the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an online 2019 National Viral Hepatitis Progress Report to share trends in viral hepatitis vaccination efforts, and disease incidence and mortality.  This annual report measures the nation’s progress in preventing and controlling viral hepatitis and updates the 2018 National Viral Hepatitis Progress Report.

This year’s report highlights the importance of:  

  • Vaccinating vulnerable populations against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
  • Detecting and stopping ongoing transmission of hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
  • Improving testing and linkage to care and treatment for persons with chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

We invite you to visit the strategic plans and report website and share the new 2019 viral hepatitis progress report with your colleagues.

HepB United 2019 Summit Report

The 2019 Hep B United Summit was the largest one yet, with over 100 attendees gathered in Washington D.C. to share best practices and hepatitis B updates. The report includes summaries of presentations, including each breakout session, statistics about Advocacy Day and the Summit, and Hep B United’s World Hepatitis Day exhibit on Capitol Hill! The report also includes a section dedicated to the research posters that were displayed during the meeting!

Video Presentations are here.

PowerPoint presentations and media coverage are here.

CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship Host Site Applications Open Through November 1!

This two-year program recruits and trains qualified candidates to support public health initiatives and provide opportunities for new epidemiologists to expand their skills to a level where they function as competent epidemiologists with little or no supervision. Host site applications are open through November 1 and in previous years, CSTE Applied Epi Fellows have been a critical tool to expanding hepatitis surveillance infrastructure in health departments. Click here to learn more about how health departments can submit an application to CSTE for the proposed program areas.

Upcoming webinars:

Reducing HCV in Corrections: Part 1, Surveillance, Screening, Advocacy, and Linkage to Care
CCO Live
Tuesday, October 1, 11:00 AM EST
This is Part 1 of a series of webinars focused on reducing HCV in corrections. This webinar will provide an overview of HCV epidemiology in prisons, national recommendations for HCV screening in jails and prisons, and models of linkage to HCV care upon community re-entry. Click here to register.

Wrong Door for Opioid Safety: How to Build an Effective Response in Your Community
Dialogue 4 Health
Tuesday, October 8, 3:00 PM EST
We all have a role to play in preventing addiction and stopping overdose deaths in our communities. How can different sectors work together for a coordinated response? Join the first in a new webinar series from the California Opioid Safety Network to hear from a law enforcement official in New Jersey, a respected national advocate, and an emergency department physician in rural California—three people who are making a difference by building partnerships across sectors in their community. Register here.

A Path Forward: Evaluating and Treating Hepatitis C
Tuesday, October 8, 12:00 PM EST
Despite advances in care, HCV remains a global health problem, requiring continued collaborative action to elevate awareness, increase diagnosis and improve linkage to care for all people living with the disease. In the past few years, medications have become available that cure HCV, and Washington State is taking strides to increase access to treatment options and care. Tune in to learn about HCV prevalence, evaluation and testing, and strategies to address barriers to treatment. Register here.

Exploring Resources and Different Treatment Models for Hepatitis C Virus and Opioid Use Disorder

National Nurse Led Care Consortium Webinar Series
This four-part webinar series provides an overview of the opioid crisis in the United States, which has led to increased HCV infection among younger populations of people who inject drugs (PWID) and other vulnerable populations, who often seek care at community health centers. Early treatment for HCV can lead to decreased transmission rates and increased cure rates with advances in oral medications. Recent evidence suggests that health center patients benefit from receiving hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening outside of the CDC recommendations of risk factors and patients born between 1945 and 1965, referred to as the “baby boomer” birth cohort. Click here to register—Laura Pegram, Senior Manager, Drug User Health at NASTAD will be presenting in Part 1 on October 15!

Hepatitis C: Completing the Diagnosis with HCV RNA Testing
Tuesday, October 22, 3:00 PM EST
New cases of acute hepatitis C have increased rapidly in the US since 2010 and have most often been associated with injection drug use. Efforts to diagnose and link individuals to care need to significantly increase to reduce the rates of acute HCV infection. The recommended testing algorithm for the diagnosis of HCV requires an initial screen with an HCV antibody test which, if reactive, should be followed by an HCV Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) to detect the viral RNA present in a person with a current infection. This webinar will share the experiences of two jurisdictions that have implemented HCV RNA testing. The presentations will highlight the collaborations between the public health laboratory and the health department from planning to implementation and sustaining testing. Register here.

Upcoming Meetings

AASLD The Liver Meeting | November 8 – 12, 2019
Boston, MA
The Liver Meeting is held annually by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), bringing together 9,500 attendees from around the world to exchange the latest research, discuss new developments in treatment outcomes, and network with other experts in the field. Collaborate with colleagues and share information about the innovative research, science, and the advances in patient care, with the shared goal of preventing and curing liver disease. Early registration ends October 11.

The Academic Health & Policy Conference on Correctional Health | April 2 – 3, 2020
The Correctional Health Conference provides a forum for researchers, clinicians, administrators, educators, policy makers, and grant funding leaders to network, share evidence, and learn about emerging research and relevant policy updates in the field of correctional health care. Abstracts are being accepted until September 5, 2019. Find out more information about the abstract process here. Please note that the National Hepatitis Corrections Network will host a one-day meeting on April 1 in advance of the conference and is a great opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the US who are working to address hepatitis in corrections. If you are interested in attending this meeting, reach out to mandy@hepeducation.org.

The RX Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit | April 13 – 16, 2020
Nashville, TN
This summit is the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state and federal agencies, business, academia, clinicians, treatment providers, counselors, educators, state and national leaders, law enforcement/public safety, and advocate impacted by the opioid crisis. Register early for low rates.

Job Opportunities

Hepatitis B Virus Project Coordinator, African Services Committee, NY

This position is responsible for conducting outreach and case-finding of contacts of HBV index patients, referring to HBV screening at ASC, following up with contacts who do not present for screening, and documenting results of field activities for each contact referral. The position conducts interviews with index HBV cases screened at ASC, elicits information on contacts, interviews contacts, and distributes incentives to index cases who refer and contacts who present for screening. 

Hepatitis B Policy Fellowship, AAPCHO

This Fellowship is a year-long position based in Washington, D.C. The Fellowship will be awarded to a medical, public health, or policy professional interested in strengthening the collaboration between key stakeholders and the federal government, highlighting key gaps in policy and service delivery, and working with partners to address the disparate impact of hepatitis B on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Hepatitis Epidemiologist, New Mexico

The Hepatitis Epidemiologist will be housed in the NM Department of Health (NMDOH) Infectious Disease Epidemiology Bureau (IDEB) and will plan, design, develop, and conduct complex epidemiological investigations and analyses of hepatitis surveillance data. Position is responsible for maintaining and improving the completeness, timeliness, and quality of hepatitis data reported to NMDOH. Incumbent will work with internal and external stakeholders to enhance the interpretation and utilization of hepatitis data and support efforts to eliminate hepatitis C virus infections in NM.

Hepatitis B Elimination Project Coordinator, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

This position will be responsible for coordination of activities related to hepatitis B education, surveillance, and prevention within the Division of Disease Control in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Several activities conducted by Project staff will aim to improve HBV testing, treatment, and vaccination access throughout Philadelphia including outreach, training, education and collaboration with appropriate programs to facilitate access to hepatitis services. Additional job announcements from PDPH, Hepatitis B Epidemiologist and Viral Hepatitis Program Manager.  

Tool of the Month

Hepatitis C Prescriber Toolkit

Developed by HRSA's HIV/AIDS Bureau, this toolkit provides state-specific guidance for providers navigating health coverage requirements for patients living with hepatitis C. The toolkit presents prescribing restrictions in each state (for various payers), as well as ADAP coverage and Medicare coverage (screening, medical and lab tests, hepatitis C medications). State information is supplemented by a directory of patient assistance and copay assistance programs. Click here to get started and find resources for your state!

News Bulletin

Articles of interest:

Implementing a Comprehensive HCV Clinic within an HIV Clinic: A Model of Care for HCV Micro-elimination, Open Forum Infectious Diseases

‘Among the 1.2 million persons living with HIV in the United States, 25% are co-infected with HCV. The availability of effective DAAs makes the goal of HCV elimination feasible, but implementation requires improvements to the HCV treatment cascade, especially linkage to and initiation of treatment in underserved populations.’

Another Gender Gap: Women Slow to Receive HCV Care, Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News

‘Women infected with the hepatitis C virus experience significant delays in progressing through the HCV care cascade compared with infected men, California researchers have found. The study showed that patients of both sexes were linked to care in roughly the same amount of time after diagnosis—a little less than five months, on average.’

Trump Administration Fights to Block Country’s First Supervised Injection Site, Hepmag

‘The Philadelphia-based nonprofit Safehouse hopes to open the United States’ first supervised injection site—a place where drug users can go to safely inject under medical supervision. But lawyers for the Trump administration are fighting to block it from opening, reports NPR.’

Congratulations Corner

Congratulations to End Hep C SF for hosting their first Research Symposium—Data and Dialogue to End Hep C! #endHepCSF2019

Last week, End Hep C SF hosted a Research Symposium that brought together partner organizations to share their progress to date of working towards a hep C-free SF. People from research, service, advocacy, and clinical care shared results of ongoing initiatives related to HCV prevention, testing, diagnosis, and care. Click here to check out the full program. There’s a lot more to about the key findings, future opportunities, and use of data and dissemination that were discussed at the symposium—so stay tuned for a blog post in the next newsletter that dives into those details!