Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West August 18, 2020

NASTAD Updates

Join us on the next work group call, Monday, August 31st at 2 PM ET, Measuring Impact of COVID-19 on Viral Hepatitis. This discussion will focus on measuring the impact of COVID-19 on viral hepatitis programming. The call will include the results from part’s I and II of NASTAD’s request for information from hepatitis programs to detail the impact of COVID-19 followed by discussion on existing resources developed for viral hepatitis in response to the pandemic.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month #KnowHepB

August is National Immunization Awareness Month! Did you know the hepatitis B vaccine has been available for over 30 years? The hepatitis B vaccine is also known as the first “anti-cancer” vaccine because it prevents hepatitis B, the leading cause of liver cancer worldwide. In the U.S., only 25% of adults have completed the hepatitis B vaccine series. While we have made progress in infant and childhood immunization, we must continue to ensure all newborns receive the hepatitis B “birth dose.”

The Know Hepatitis B Campaign’s customizable vaccine card has information about the hepatitis B vaccination and helps people keep track of their vaccine series. Your organization’s local contact information can also be typed into the card. Check out the downloadable vaccine cards here and for more information about the Know Hepatitis B Campaign, visit the campaign website.

Reflections from World Hepatitis Day—July 28th #FindTheMissingMillions

In observance of this year’s World Hepatitis Day (WHD), we were reminded that we are all key players to eliminating viral hepatitis globally. The World Health Organization continued using the theme, “Find the Missing Millions,” as part of their awareness-raising advocacy campaign. Globally, there are more than 290 million persons who are unaware that they are living with viral hepatitis. In 2016, 194 WHO member states made a commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. With less than 10 years to go, only a handful of countries are on track to eliminate hepatitis C, and progress towards eliminating hepatitis B is lagging globally.

This year, organizations coordinated strategies to discuss way to increase hepatitis testing and advance domestic and global elimination of viral hepatitis.  raise awareness about eliminating viral hepatitis through virtual events and activities. Click here and see below for archived virtual events and activities, including campaign materials that were used through the month of July.

  • World Hepatitis Day Podcast: CDC Guidelines for Hepatitis C Screening: The American Liver Foundation presents panelists, interviews, and discussions, featuring liver patients discussing the patient experience, transplant patients, hepatologists and public health professionals. Click here to listen to the following topics: liver transplants, viral hepatitis, NAFLD/NASH, rare liver diseases and so much more.
  • Beyond the Map: HepVu’s Q&A with Viral Hepatitis Experts: Click here to learn more from Dr. Su Wang, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance and click here to learn more from Kate Moraras, Deputy Director of Public Health at the Hepatitis B Foundation and Director of Hep B United.
  • Viral Hepatitis Updates from the HHS Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy: Click here to read the blog post from HHS that highlights key viral hepatitis developments and activities in the Unite States.
  • NOHep’s open letter to urge government worldwide to stand by their commitment: The campaign is now closed, but had over 2,500 individuals and 450 organizations form around the world backing their global call to action. Click here to read the open letter.
  • #HepBUnite Week of Action: Hepatitis B Foundation, Hep B United, and AAPCHO hosted a series of WHD activities! They developed an action page with pre-written email templates to remind Congress about the importance of funding and support for hepatitis B services and programs. Click here for more background on this year’s appropriations and other legislative requests for Congress.

The World Hepatitis Alliance has additional information for medical professionalspolicy makersmedia influencers, and people worried that they might have hepatitis.  

Check out our blog post – Commemorating National African American Hepatitis C Action Day in the Time of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter

July 25th marked the 8th annual National African American Hepatitis C Action Day (NAAHCAD). In honor of NAAHCAD and our commitment to Black lives, we must acknowledge racism as a barrier to health equity, hold ourselves accountable for our roles in health equity, and address gaps in the public health response. Click here to read the full blog post in observance of this day.

Webinar on Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B Vaccination Efforts in People Who Inject Drugs

NASTAD & CDC’s DVH
Thursday, September 10 at 2:00 PM ET
During this webinar, CDC’s NCHHSTP and DVH will provide an overview of their viral hepatitis vaccination recommendations and the recent release of new communications materials encouraging hepatitis A and B vaccination in PWID. Additionally, you will hear from jurisdictions who will speak to their community outreach initiatives to implement hepatitis A and B vaccinations for people who inject drugs. Click here to register.

Additional Updates

Release of CDC’s 2018 Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Report

In observance of World Hepatitis Day this year, CDC’s viral hepatitis program updated its global hepatitis webpage and published an online viral hepatitis surveillance summary, Viral Hepatitis Surveillance –United States, 2018, reporting on cases of hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C for public health partners to use in focusing prevention efforts, planning services, allocating resources, developing policy, and detecting and responding to clusters of viral hepatitis infection. While the number and rate of new acute cases of hepatitis B remained stable, there was an increase in the number and rate of new acute surveillance summary documents that in 2018 the United States experienced increases in new acute cases of hepatitis A and hepatitis C. These increases are predominantly attributable to increased injection drug use and a lack of vaccine protection among adults at risk for hepatitis A and B infection.

Click here to see the full report, which details reported and estimated cases of acute, or newly diagnosed, viral hepatitis in 2018.

Integrated Viral Hepatitis Surveillance and Prevention Funding for Health Departments (CDC-PS21-2103) – Forecasted

Focus: Support integrated viral hepatitis surveillance and prevention programs in states and large cities in the United States.
Eligible Applicants: 58 special district, city or township, state, and county governments
Key Strategies:

  • Viral hepatitis outbreak planning and response
  • Surveillance for acute hepatitis A, B and C, and chronic hepatitis C
  • Develop jurisdictional viral hepatitis elimination plans
  • Increase comprehensive hepatitis B and C reporting
  • Improve HBV and HCV testing
  • Increase healthcare providers trained to treat hepatitis B and C.

Estimated National Total Award: $341,020,000
Anticipated Funding Start Date: May 1, 2021
Estimated Post Date: September 1, 2020 – Link to the forecast can be found here.

Testing and Clinical Management of Health Care Personnel Potentially Exposed to Hepatitis C VirusMMWR, CDC Guidance, United States, July 2020

The recently published MMWR establishes new CDC guidance that includes recommendations for a testing algorithm and clinical management for Healthcare Personnel with potential occupational exposure to HCV. Click here to read the publication.

2020 Pipeline Report

TAG’s annual review provides an overview of research and development of innovations for diagnosing, preventing, treating, and curing HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and tuberculosis (TB). TAG encourages you to use and share these resources widely in your scientific, policy, and advocacy work.

NACCHO Releases Updated Viral Hepatitis Policy Statement

NACCHO has launched an updated Viral Hepatitis Policy Statement in response to changing trends in viral hepatitis and updated clinical guidelines for the prevention, testing, and treatment of viral hepatitis. NACCHO's policy statements provide local health departments with the latest science and public health approaches to address key public health issues and are often used by local health departments to educate, communicate, and influence policy. Click here to read the full statement.

Your Guide to Integrating HCV Services into Opioid Treatment Programs

The Addiction Technology Transfer Care Network released this helpful tool to build capacity of publicly-funded opioid treatment programs to integrate HCV prevention and treatment services into their programs. This guide may be useful for FQHCs, community and healthcare coalitions, nonprofit organizations, and other substance use disorder and HCV treatment providers. Click here to access the guide. Also available: HCV RNA Provider Card, Hepatitis C Infographics and Initiative Overview, and Motivational Interviewing to Address Hepatitis C.

Is Your Model of HCV Care the Best in the World?! – Call for Entries!

Connecting with Care is a project led by INHSU, and they have officially launched the Connecting with Care Competition; a global award to identify innovative models of hepatitis C care in order to highlight emerging ways of working and to inspire others in the sector. Take a look at the submission criteria, information on how to submit your application, and to read additional details about this awesome competition.

This competition is intended to inspire and educate the global hepatitis C community by sharing innovative case studies from every corner of the globe. Click here to read more. This is free to enter and the closing date for entries is on September 17, 2020.

Useful Information and Resources on COVID-19 and Viral Hepatitis

Upcoming webinars/events:

Advocating for Hepatitis B at the State Level
Hep B United
Tuesday, August 25th at 3:00 PM EST

During this session, HBU will share strategies and resources for assessing the landscape of state-level hepatitis B policy and advocacy opportunities, understanding the structure and timing of state legislatures, and identifying potential champions and stakeholders in your state. The goal of this workshop is to provide tools and ideas to help your organization or coalition explore opportunities to advance hepatitis B policy priorities at the state level. RSVP here by August 21st.

Hepatitis Global Update & Liver Disease in HIV: What is New?
NATAP
Friday, August 21st at 12:30 PM EST

Topics will include: Acute HCV; screening, testing, & treatment recommendations; treatment of chronic HCV; elimination & micro-elimination; what is needed for USA, Europe, and global elimination; non-vial hepatitis in HIV+; and other topics to be discussed. Click here to register.

Meet the Partner: Saving Lives with Faith-Based Leaders
National Overdose Prevention Network (NOPN)
Thursday, August 13th at 1:30 PM EST

Faith-based partners can build a culture of compassion for individuals struggling with addiction and have helped countless Americans overcome their drug dependence. This webinar will be a live discussion with David Liners, a leader in faith-based partnerships for overdose prevention to discuss the role of faith-based leaders, how to bring them to the table, and what strategies look like in action. Click here to register.

Healthcare Voices: Online Storytelling Workshop
Tuesdays August 11th ; September 8th  
All sessions 3:00 – 5:00 PM EST

If you're a doctor, nurse, medical assistant, social worker, or anyone else working in a healthcare setting and interacting directly with patients, please join us for this FREE online storytelling workshop. Through story prompts, reflective writing, and group sharing, we'll support you in documenting your experience and finding renewed strength.

COVID-19, Liver Disease and Health Disparities
Thursday, September 10th at 12:00 PM ET
This webinar will provide a better understanding of health care disparities uncovered by the COVID-19 crisis around the world; describe the factors increasing the prevalence of health care disparities during the initial phase of the COVID-19 crisis; and discuss potential solutions that can help reduce health care disparities with COVID-19 and liver disease care. Click here to register.

Archived Webinars

Implementation of Dried Blood Spots (DBS) for Hepatitis C (HCV) Elimination
Recorded July 29, 2020, Abbott Laboratories
This webinar discusses the role of DBS in management of HCV infection, the performance of m2000 RealTime HCV DBS, and implementation strategies for HCV elimination.

Community Driven Harm Reduction Programs in Canada
Recorded July 28, 2020, CATIE
This webinar highlights novel, low-barrier approaches to harm reduction programs, how these programs are being delivered, and the lessons that have been learned. We discuss opportunities and challenges for harm reduction practice, including during the pandemic and into the future.

Evaluating Vaccination and Treatment of Hepatitis B for People Who Use Drugs
Recorded July 27th, 2020, National Nurse-Led Care Consortium

Upcoming Meetings (cancellation/postponements in red) 

SYNChronicity, The National Conference for HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ Health
*New Date: September 8-11 (Virtual) 
This conference brings together medical professionals, service providers, government officials, and health advocates to sync effective approaches to address HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ health in the changing and dynamic health care landscape, with a focus on underserved racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ communities. Click here for registration information. 

Virtual Liver Cancer Conference
This conference will be hosted by Community Liver Alliance on Saturday, September 26, 2020 from 8:00 AM – 2:30 PM. Click here to view keynote speakers and click here to register for the event. Registration is free for patients and providers. 

United States Conference on HIV/AIDS (USCHA)
This conference is moving from an in-person four day conference in Puerto Rico to a FREE (for the first 4,000 registrants) two-and-a-half day virtual conference taking place October 19-21. As part of the shorter conference, the Hepatitis Track will now be a Hepatitis Institute, taking place from 2:30-3:30pm ET on Monday, October 19th. Click here to see the agenda.

9th International Conference on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users *postponed to 2021
The International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) is an international, not-for-profit, member-based organization dedicated to scientific knowledge exchange, education, and advocacy focused on hepatitis C (HCV) prevention and care with people who use drugs. The conference covers the latest advances on HCV epidemiology, management and treatment of viral hepatitis among people who use drugs. Through the dissemination of scientific knowledge, the conference aims to contribute to the WHO’s goal of elimination hepatitis C by 2030. 

Job Openings:

Manager – NASTAD, Drug User Health Team, Washington DC

The Manager, Drug User Health plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s capacity to address the impacts of the intersecting crises of drug use, HIV/AIDS, and viral hepatitis in community and public health settings, particularly within state and local health departments and Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). Their core activities will support the advancement of NASTAD’s programmatic efforts to assist health departments and community-based drug user health programs by providing technical assistance and training on effective drug user health strategies and connecting people who use drugs to HIV and hepatitis prevention and treatment programs.

Manager — NASTAD, Policy & Legislative Affairs, Washington, DC

The Manager, Policy & Legislative Affairs plays a vital role in managing the development and implementation of hepatitis-related federal appropriations strategies, including for the NASTAD convened Hepatitis Appropriations Partnership, and legislation related to hepatitis prevention, care and treatment issues.  This position manages the day-to-day activities necessary to implement hepatitis-related federal legislative and regulatory goals.  The Manager also interfaces with governmental agencies, national organizations, coalitions and other non-governmental organizations to promote NASTAD’s legislative and policy agenda.

Capacity Building Assistance Manager, HIV, HCV, and Opioid Use Disorders – Health HIV

This position will be responsible for the coordination, delivery/facilitation and implementation of capacity building assistance and technical assistance services to health departments, community-based organizations, health centers, and other HIV, HCV, and opioid use disorder treatment service organizations and partners.

Publications:

Hepatitis Screening Now for All Patients With Cancer on Therapy, Medscape, August 2020

“An updated provisional clinical opinion from the American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests that all patients with cancer who are candidates for systemic anticancer therapy should be screened for HBV infection prior to the start of therapy.” The updated opinion was published online July 27 in The Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Liver Cancer is Growing Concern Among Medicare Recipients, HepMag, August 2020

An analysis of the prevalence and mortality of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) among Medicare beneficiaries found that the condition is becoming increasingly common. Moreover, the causes of this type of liver cancer are dependent on race.”

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on surveillance of hepatocellular carcinoma: a study in patients with chronic hepatitis C after sustained virologic response, GastroHep, August 2020  

The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic has strongly influenced many aspects of the medical care, including cancer surveillance. We investigated how the COVID‐19 pandemic influenced surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), focusing on patients with hepatitis C virus infection who were receiving surveillance for HCC after sustained virologic response (SVR) in Japan.”

What to know about hepatitis C disease in pediatric patients, AAP News, August 2020

“Since there is no vaccine against hepatitis C virus, prevention efforts focus on minimizing the risk from vertical transmission and from unsafe injection of drugs.”*Login required to access.

Commentary: COVID-19 isn’t our only viral worry, Georgia Health News, August 2020

“Both COVID-19 and HCV reveal that health disparities in this country are widespread, entrenched, and multifaceted…rather than allowing bias or short-sightedness to govern the response to COVID-19, viral hepatitis, HIV, or any infectious disease, we must demand evidence based policies, services and tools that reduce harm and improve outcomes.”

Congratulations Corner

Shout out to Hep Free Hawai`i for the launch of their Hepatitis Elimination Strategy! #HepFree2030

Coinciding with World Hepatitis Day, July 28, Hep Free Hawai`i launched their statewide community strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis! You can check out the full strategy, a one-page summary, and a downloadable slide deck by clicking on the hyperlinks.

“Our goal is to create a Hawai`i free of hepatitis and liver disease by launching this strategic elimination strategy that continues the collaboration and discussion between medical professionals, public health professionals, and community advocates. We seek to raise awareness and increase access to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of liver disease and to erase stigma, social inequity, and health disparity surrounding communities affected by liver disease,” added HFH Co-Director Heather Lusk.

“The comprehensive elimination strategy launched in Hawai`i can serve as a blueprint for the 36 other states in the U.S. that have not yet implemented hepatitis elimination strategies and reaffirms the priority to eliminate hepatitis in the U.S. by 2030,” said Michael Ninburg, Executive Director of the Hepatitis Education Project (HEP).

For more information about HFH’s Hep Free 2030, please visit www.hepfreehawaii.org