Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West July 28, 2021

World Hepatitis Day—July 28th

World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes place every year on July 28 to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis. The World Hepatitis Alliance is leading the way with the theme of, Hepatitis Can’t Wait! In observance of World Hepatitis Day 2021, NASTAD supports and encourages efforts to identify the estimated 292 million people, globally, who are living with viral hepatitis and are unaware  do not know.  

With a person dying every 30 seconds from a hepatitis related illness – even in the current COVID-19 crisis – we can’t wait to act on viral hepatitis.

  • People living with viral hepatitis unaware can’t wait for testing
  • People living with hepatitis can’t wait for life saving treatments
  • Expectant mothers can’t wait for hepatitis screening and treatment
  • Newborn babies can’t wait for birth dose vaccination
  • People affected by hepatitis can’t wait to end stigma and discrimination
  • Community organizations can’t wait for greater investment
  • Decision makers can’t wait and must act now to make hepatitis elimination a reality through political will and funding.

Whether you have one minute or an hour, there are plenty of ways you can get involved in World Hepatitis Day to make sure that the world knows that Hepatitis Can’t Wait—these are also useful resources to use beyond July! Look for upcoming events from NASTAD to discuss ways to increase hepatitis testing and advance domestic and global elimination of viral hepatitis.

NASTAD Updates:

From August 10-11, 2021, NASTAD, in partnership with the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, will host the Viral Hepatitis Prevention and Surveillance Virtual Learning Collaborative Kickoff. The event will gather participants from health departments to provide core capacity training for viral hepatitis prevention and surveillance staff.

Register for the virtual meeting here.   

Registration for this meeting is limited to health department staff working on viral hepatitis prevention and surveillance programs including, but not limited to, CDC PS21-2103 Integrated Viral Hepatitis Surveillance and Prevention Funding for Health Departments recipients.

Additional Updates

CDC’s MMWR: Unexpected Hepatitis B Virus Infection After Liver Transplantation—United States, 2014-2019 The data in this article provides evidence that transmission of hepatitis B virus infection from donors occurred in a small number of cases despite organ donors testing negative for the virus before organ procurement.

Key Take-aways:

  • Early detection of HBV infection in the donor is important for preventing hepatitis B–related complications among organ recipients and unintended transmission to their contacts. 
  • CDC encourages all health care providers to offer hepatitis B vaccination to recipients before transplantation and hepatitis B testing 4–6 weeks after transplantation, or at any time signs or symptoms of viral hepatitis develop, even if previous tests were negative. 
  • More broadly, providers caring for recipients of organs from donors who recently injected drugs or are HCV–seropositive should maintain awareness of infectious complications of drug use and monitor recipients accordingly. 

World Health Organization releases first-ever global guidance for country validation of viral hepatitis B and C elimination

The WHO released new guidance for countries to validate their hepatitis B and C elimination plans. The guidance provides countries with ways to measure their progress towards elimination targets for perinatal hepatitis B transmission and for hepatitis B and C as public health threats. Read more here.

WHO releases first guidelines on hepatitis C virus self-testing

New guidelines from WHO strongly recommend offering self-testing for hepatitis C virus (HCV) as an additional approach to HCV testing services. WHO releases the new guidelines – its first on HCV self-testing – during the International AIDS Society Conference 2021. Click for the guidelines and presentation.

NVHR is looking for testimonials and stories from advocates in the hepatitis community about moments when you had a positive interaction with someone who is #hepaware. We want to hear about care takers or providers who helped you get tested or treated without stigma or judgement.

Share your story about your support community or personal champion who has supported you throughout your experience with hepatitis!

Request for Information:

  1. Do you know of any pharmacy testing program where they are getting reimbursed for HCV testing? If yes, please reach out to hepatitis@nastad.org  

Upcoming webinars/events

Preventing Perinatal Hepatitis B & C Transmission

HepVU
July 28, 2021 at 11 AM EST
Join HepVu for a webinar on perinatal Hepatitis B and C transmission in the U.S. During the webinar, experts will review the current state of Hepatitis B and C among pregnant women and women of childbearing age, underlying factors that contribute to perinatal hepatitis transmission, and identify strategies for prevention, including screening recommendations.

Cost-Effectiveness of a One-Time Universal Hepatitis B Screening in the United States

Hep B United
August 11, 2021 at 2 PM EST
Join Dr. Mehlika Toy from the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University School of Medicine to discuss the cost-effectiveness of a one-time universal screening for chronic hepatitis B infection among adults in the United States. This webinar will provide a background on current screening practice, barriers and challenges and discuss results of a study to assess the economic and public health impact of a one-time universal screening of the general adult population for chronic hepatitis B infection in the U.S.

Archived Webinars

Recommendations for Federal Partners and Health Departments Navigating Naloxone Supply

On July 19th, NASTAD hosted a webinar with Buyers Club to discuss the recently released resource, Recommendations for Federal Partners and Health Departments Navigating Naloxone Supply. This resource was developed by NASTAD’s Drug User Health Team, in consultation with harm reduction consultants that have been instrumental in creating access to low-cost naloxone for syringe services programs (SSPs) and people who use drugs (PWUD) across the country. Topics during the webinar included reviewing the new guidance, hearing updates from national, state, and local naloxone access programs, and discussing strategies for management, communication, and working with SSPs.

Upcoming Meetings

SYNChronicity 2021 | September 21-22 *Virtual 

The National Conference for HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ Health

Hosted by HealthHIV, HealthHCV, and the National Coalition for LGBT Health, the SYNChronicity Conference is the only national conference that connects numerous health care and public health audiences and systems in a dynamic healthcare environment to effectively address HIV, hepatitis C (HCV), sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and LGBTQ health, and health equity. SYNC is accepting abstract submissions for posters only. Click here for abstract guidelines.

Hepatitis Community Collaborative (HC2)| September 28 *Virtual

SAVE THE DATE! NASTAD and The AIDS Institute will be hosting the second annual free-to-attend community collaborative to take place on Tuesday, September 28th. This time for viral hepatitis-focused presentations is an opportunity for additional voices to be heard, and for the community to come together and see what others are working on. More information is forthcoming!

United States Conference on HIV/AIDS (USCHA) | October 28-31 *Washington DC

Registration for the 2021 USCHA conference is now open. This is an in-person conference with the theme, “Homecoming,” that invokes feelings of remembrance, reconnection and celebration. NASTAD and The AIDS Institute will be leading the Hepatitis Pathway. The agenda will be shared as the date nears. Click here to register for USCHA.

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.

Job Opportunities

HCV Surveillance CoordinatorWA Dept of Health

This position contributes to the organization by assuring that the foundational activity of public health surveillance is conducted in a timely and accurate way. It contributes specifically to the mission of the Infectious Disease Assessment Unit by providing capacity in the area of independently proposing, planning, coordinating, and conducting data collection, quality assurance, data analysis, and data dissemination related to infectious diseases and related program areas such as hepatitis C (HCV) and Drug User Health (DUH). Click here to see the full job description.

Infectious Disease and Substance Use Service Integration CoordinatorPhiladelphia Dept of Public Health

This position will support the Viral Hepatitis Prevention, Policy, and Community Engagement Manager in improving access to hepatitis services through, training, education, and other outreach to appropriate stakeholders. Their primary responsibilities include assisting utilization of key partners for a Technical Advisory Committee; compiling reported information to assist in the formation of a Provider Toolkit; and coordinating training and technical assistance for partner sites.  Job post closes Aug 7th.

Public Health InformaticistCalifornia Dept of Public Health

This position will work on the CDC hepatitis surveillance and prevention grant and help improve the HIV/STD/HCV data systems, surveillance reports and build new ones. Click here for the full job description.

Viral Hepatitis Prevention CoordinatorHouston Health Department

The Houston Health Department is actively searching for a skilled individual to perform comprehensive planning and analyses for the Bureau of HIV/STD and Viral Hepatitis Prevention. This position reports to the HIV Program Manager and will coordinate viral hepatitis prevention programs within Houston and Harris County. Click here for the full job description. Job post closes Aug 5th.

Publications

COVID-19 Pandemic Led to Shortfall in Hepatitis C Treatment, Hep Science News, July 2021.

“Pandemic-related disruptions led to a 25% drop in the number of people starting treatment for hepatitis C, according to findings presented at the 2021 International Liver Congress virtual meeting. Despite the setback, a coordinated effort to increase access to treatment and harm reduction programs could save some 33,200 lives while bringing the United States closer to achieving the World Health Organization (WHO) 2030 targets for hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination.”

Another COVID-19 Calamity—More Deaths Due to Hepatitis C Infections. Forbes, July 2021.

John LaMattina emphasizes that when hepatitis C drugs were first manufactured, all of the concerns focused on cost. Following the ebbs and flows, it has taken a while, but now discussions are centered on the elimination of this insidious virus thereby saving tens of thousands of lives and, in the process, reducing overall healthcare costs.

Universal hepatitis B screenings can save lives and cut costs, study says, Stanford Scopeblog, June 2021.

Stanford researchers have found that screening all adults in the United States one time for hepatitis B could save as many as 68,000 lives, along with trillions of dollars in healthcare costs over the lifetimes of people who suffer from the disease—emphasizing critical health disparities and policy change.