Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West March 25, 2021

NASTAD Updates:

340B for Viral Hepatitis Programs
NASTAD is pleased to announce the webinar series 340B for Viral Hepatitis Programs. The series will provide a detailed understanding of HRSA’s 340B Drug Pricing Program to support viral hepatitis programs. Each webinar will highlight innovative models and implementation that support hepatitis elimination efforts, as well as case studies from jurisdictions with existing 340B partnerships.

The first webinar provided an overview of the 340B program, including understanding the purpose of the program, key concepts, and description of eligible entities and time for a Q&A. Please see the archived recording here.

The second webinar covered 340B program eligibility criteria, enrollment considerations, and the registration process and timeline. The webinar took place on Wednesday, March 24, recording can be found here.   

Additional details for future webinars in the series, including topics and panelists, will be announced soon but will continue to be held every other week on Wednesdays at noon ET. Part 3 will take place on April 7, registration here and part 4 will take place on April 21st, registration here.

We continue to accept TA questions for the series. Feel free to email them to hepatitis@nastad.org.

The State of Viral Hepatitis During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a significant burden on the public health systems across the United States. As a result, community-based organizations, clinical providers, and state and local health departments are facing amplified demands on resources and organizational capacity. To continue to provide critical public health services, hepatitis programs have acted quickly to develop innovative service delivery approaches in response to the emerging needs of people living with and at risk for hepatitis. The following resource provides an overview of the findings from national surveys conducted, in 2020, to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on viral hepatitis programs and services. The resource is a collaboration between HepVu, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, Hepatitis Education Project, NASTAD, Hep B United, Hepatitis B Foundation, and NACCHO.

2021 CSTE Annual Conference
For the first time in history, the CSTE Annual Conference has gone virtual! The 2021 Annual Conference will take place from June 13-17, 2021. This year’s theme is “Building Bridges to Health”, reflecting on the many ways The COVID-19 pandemic has changed public health relationships.

We invite you to register to attend the Sunday Hepatitis C Surveillance workshop “Methodologies to Inform Prevention and Elimination”. This collaborative workshop planned by members of the CSTE Hepatitis C Subcommittee, The CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis, and NASTAD, will explore existing capacity across HCV surveillance programs, discuss updated viral hepatitis guidelines, technical assistance needs and opportunities for standardization and collaboration.

Registration for the virtual conference is open and available at https://www.csteconference.org/index.php/registration2021/ . A limited number of workshop sponsorships are available. Please contact India Bowman at ibowman@cste.org for more information.”

Demystifying 340B for Correctional Institutions Webinar
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
10:00am-11:30am PST | 1:00pm-2:30pm EST
NHCN, in partnership with the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), are hosting a virtual subject-matter expert panel and Q&A about the use of 340B in correctional institutions. Emily McCloskey, Director, Policy and Legislative Affairs at NASTAD will be one of the event’s featured panelists.

The event is designed to provide information to correctional entities who are interested in utilizing the 340B drug pricing program to improve viral hepatitis treatment in their facilities. Webinar content will include an overview of 340B, key considerations for use of 340B in correctional health entities, and a panel of experts offering technical assistance and providing insight into what to expect when employing 340B in correctional facilities.

The panel will feature the following speakers:

National Latinx Conference on HIV/HCV/SUD | April 15-16, 2021 *virtual  
This conference aims to provide healthcare and social service providers with innovative concepts, best practices, and new information on how to better serve Latinx communities. It represents an important step towards fulfilling the goals of the 2020 National HIV/AIDS Strategy and bringing the needs of Latinx community to the forefront in the fight against HIV, HCV and SUD. Registration here.

This year’s meeting will include a panel titled "Elimination of Hepatitis B and C in the United States”, on Friday, April 16, 2021 at 11:55am – 1:10pm CT featuring Rita Isabel Lechuga, Senior Manager, Hepatitis at NASTAD and Kate Moraras, Deputy Director of Public Health at Hepatitis B Foundation and Director of Hep B United.

Community Spotlight

Hawai’i Health & Harm Reduction Center released their latest annual report outlining the ongoing successes of Hawaiʿi’s publicly funded statewide syringe access program (SEP), which began in 1989 to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS. Over 1.18 million syringes were exchanged during the report’s 2019 time frame. The report includes a section on hepatitis C, please click here to download and view infographics.

Additional Updates

Global Contest for Viral Hepatitis Stories! Has viral hepatitis impacted your life, the life of someone you care about or your community? This is the opportunity to participate in a global contest from NoHep to collect viral hepatitis stories. Please click here for more details. The deadline for submissions is April 30th, 2021.

Hep B United Mini-Grants Program Grant Forecast Expansion of hepatitis B-related public health services for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities in the United States

Application Open Date: June 4, 2021 
Application Deadline: August 20, 2021 
Expected number of awards: 8
Estimated Total Program Funding: $70,000-$80,000

Description: The Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) is announcing the forecasting of the Hep B United (HBU) 2021 Mini-Grant Program awards for expansion of hepatitis B-related public health services for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA & NHPI) communities in the United States opening June 4, 2021. HBF will award up to 8 grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 each. The purpose of this program is to enhance the capacity of HBU coalition partners to conduct hepatitis B education, testing, and linkage to care in local communities. The emphasis of this grant is focused on AA & NHPI communities and supporting activities at the local coalition level to advance the hepatitis B priority areas of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan. Applications should focus on the following HBU Strategic Priority Areas: 

  1. Education for providers and communities to reduce hepatitis B-related health disparities;
  2. Improve awareness, testing, and linkage to care to prevent hepatitis B related liver disease and cancer;
  3. Eliminating perinatal hepatitis B transmission; and/or
  4. Strengthening surveillance to detect viral hepatitis transmission and disease.

Grantor Contact Information: Catherine Freeland, Catherine.Freeland@hepb.org

HIV/HCV CO-INFECTION WATCH: Of the 56 respective State & Territorial ADAPs, only nine do not offer any coverage for Hepatitis C drug therapies. The Community Access National Network's latest HIV/HCV Co-Infection Watch provides analysis on State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs & HCV therapies. Learn more at https://www.hiv-hcv-watch.com/watches/jan-21/#adaps and sign-up to receive this great quarterly report.

CATIE offering facilitated online course on Hepatitis C Basics!

This free online course on the basics of hepatitis C, covering topics such as transmission, testing, treatment, prevention and health literacy. This course is for frontline service providers across Canada and runs from April 6 to 30, 2021. Register here.

Press Release: Wisconsin and Indiana Remove Barrier to Hepatitis C Treatment for Medicaid Patients

Just last month, two midwestern states removed prior authorizations for first time hepatitis C treatment, increasing opportunities for 130,000 individuals to be treated and cured of hepatitis C, now joining only three other states without prior authorization requirements: Louisiana, New York, and Washington. Click here to read the full post by NVHR.

Request for Information: Hep C Free Washington is planning to develop health education materials for people who use drugs regarding the availability and benefits of hepatitis C treatment. They're working to get the word out that treatment is relatively simple, of a short duration, effective, and available, and that for those with Apple Health (Medicaid) there are no restrictions to access treatment. If you’ve developed or know of materials on this topic, please reach out to Emalie Huriaux.

Upcoming webinars/events:

Can Organized Medicine Take on Racism as a Public Health Issue?
March 25, 7 PM ET with NCAPIP
Join NCAPIP as they speak with physicians on the role of organized medicine in addressing racism as a public health issue, and how we as leaders of organized physician groups grapple with achieving health equity, and how that applies to the issues we see in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community.

Archived Webinars

Harnessing COVID-19 Response Towards Hepatitis C Elimination
Treatment Action Group, Médecins du Monde, hepCoalition, and the UNITE network presented a virtual policy dialogue among policymakers, global civil society organizations, and community leaders who share how COVID-19 has impacted global hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination efforts. Click here to view the presentation and recording.

Addressing Hepatitis A Outbreaks During COVID-19: Challenges, Opportunities, & Innovations
NACCHO’s webinar provides an overview of how local health departments are responding to hepatitis A outbreaks through case investigation, outreach, education and vaccination campaigns, for close contacts and populations disproportionately impacted by hepatitis A. Click here to review the recording.

Linkage to Care and Treatment for Persons with Hepatitis B in Dar es-Salaam and Zanzibar, Tanzania
On behalf of the Hepatitis B Foundation, Hep B United, and CHIPO, this webinar focused on a project that was conducted to link people living with chronic hepatitis B in Dar es-Salaam and Zanzibar, Tanzania to care and treatment. Panelists shared the background and history of the project, the process of data collection, the design and implementation of interventions, and future research and opportunities. Click here to review the slides and recording.

Solutions to Improve HCV Cure Rates in HIV/HCV Coinfected Patients
This webinar explored the factors that affect clinical management of HCV among people living with HIV- getting at the root question of “Why aren’t we curing all people who are co-infected?” Understanding the gaps is a prerequisite to compiling solutions that support the patient, the clinician, and the nursing field. This presentation focused on an ANAC2020 report shaped by interviews conducted with nurses and other clinical, research, and policy experts.

Upcoming Meetings

National Hepatitis Corrections Network | Regional Series *virtual
BLOCK HIV/HCV – Bringing Local Communities Together to Eliminate Coinfection Through Knowledge and Partnerships
These are regional meetings for professionals engaged in HIV and viral hepatitis work. This series of multidisciplinary educational interventions builds connections across care networks to optimize treatment of patients with HCV, specifically in the context of HIV/HCV coinfection.

  • April 12th, 2021, Knoxville, TN- Click here to register
  • May 3rd, 2021, Lansing, MI- Click here to register
  • Spring 2021, Cincinnati, OH- Registration coming soon!

The Academic Health & Policy Conference on Correctional Health | April 8-10, 2021 *virtual
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. Click here to view the schedule and register.

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) | June 13-17, 2021  
Pittsburgh, PA
Conference attendees meet and share their expertise in surveillance and epidemiology as well as best practices in a broad range of areas including informatics, infectious diseases, substance use, immunizations, environmental health, occupational health, chronic disease, injury control, and maternal and child health. Click here to register.

The International HBV Meeting on the Molecular Biology of Hepatitis B Viruses | September 13-17
Toronto, Canada
Registration will open in early 2021. Please click here for the official website.

The 9th International Conference on Health and Hepatitis Care in Substance Users (INHSU) | October 13-15
Hybrid model – Sydney, Australia and on-demand streaming
Join delegates from all over the world with 20+ sessions from world-leading experts over three days. In line with our new strategic direction and name, this year’s conference will be broadening the focus to include not just HCV but also other infectious diseases and the broader health of people who use drugs. Please click here to access the conference page. Abstract submissions are due April 25 and early bird registration ends June 7.

Job Opportunities

Communication Specialist, HIV, STI, Hepatitis, NACCHO

The Communications Specialist is responsible for supporting the work of the HIV, STI, Viral Hepatitis Team, and contributes to the advancement of local public health practice by performing a range of responsibilities related to the dissemination of information about HIV, STIs, and Viral Hepatitis (including developing print and electronic publications, web and social media content, and media templates). Click here for the full job description.

Hepatitis Care Coordinator, Hawai’I Health & Harm Reduction Center

The Hepatitis Care Coordinator will provide care coordination services to clients diagnosed with chronic viral hepatitis and who are willing to address their disease through Hep Free Hawai‘i programs. Care coordination services primarily focus on medical case management, especially for addressing barriers to care and developing a care/treatment plan for hepatitis. The duties of this position require the handling and management of confidential client health information. Click here to read the full job description.

Public Health Analyst – Overdose Response Strategist, Michigan Dept of Health & Human Services

This position will support efforts of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) and other key partners in the development and implementation of drug overdose information sharing systems and evidence-based prevention programs as well as facilitate data sharing and joint initiatives between public health and public safety agencies and organizations that are designed to address illicit drug use and overdose. Additional responsibilities listed; click here for the full job description.

Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications

The Asian Liver Center at Stanford University is seeking an Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications to direct partnerships that help eliminate hepatitis B deaths and stigma. Click here for the full job description.

HCV Senior Data and Research Analyst, NYC Health Department

The Senior Data and Research Analyst will be responsible for the design and analysis of surveillance data, including providing epidemiologic and statistical guidance to surveillance staff as well as other staff in the Viral Hepatitis Program. In addition, the Senior Data and Research Analyst will ensure the quality of the data so that analyses are properly conducted. You will publish findings on viral hepatitis diagnoses and care, morbidity, and mortality using surveillance data. Click here for the full job description.

Publications:

Commentary: Losing Our Way: Caring for Patients Who May, Too Soon, Become Organ Donors, Lynne E. Taylor, RI Medical Journal, March 2021. This commentary focuses on the use of HCV-infected organs from donors who have died from overdose. It begs the question of ethical practice of “capitalizing on the overdose crisis.”

Op-Ed: Rising Hepatitis Rates Present Opportunities for Biden Administration to Strengthen Federal Public Health Response to All Infectious Diseases. Daniel Raymond, Director at NVHR, urges the new administrations to use the lessons learned by COVID-19 to strengthen public health infrastructure to address the increasing rates of viral hepatitis across the county.

Hep C and the COVID Vaccine, HepMag blog, February 2021

Should hepatitis C patients consult with a liver specialist prior to receiving the COVID vaccine? Listed here are general questions and answers regarding HCV and receiving the COVID vaccine.

An Updated Assessment of Chronic Hepatitis B Prevalence among Foreign-Born Persons Living in the United States, Hepatology, March 2021. “The number of adults living in the U.S. who have chronic hepatitis B infection may be as high as 2.4 million, which is nearly three times greater than the federal government’s official estimate, according to a new analysis by a team of public health experts, scientists and physicians.”

Decentralisation, integration, and task-shifting in hepatitis C virus infection testing and treatment: a global systematic review and meta-analysis, The Lancet, February 2021.

“Increasing access to hepatitis C virus (HCV) care and treatment will require simplified service delivery models. We aimed to evaluate the effects of decentralisation and integration of testing, care, and treatment with harm-reduction and other services, and task-shifting to non-specialists on outcomes across the HCV care continuum.”

Nevada Budgets $6M to Treat All Prisoners Who Have Hepatitis C, HepMag NewsFeed February 2021

Nevada is setting aside $6 million to treat all prisoners living with hepatitis C, which is more prevalent among people who are incarcerated compared with the population at large. The Nevada Department of Corrections expects to treat all affected individuals by October 2023 after inmates filed a class action lawsuit last year.