Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West November 6, 2019

NASTAD Updates

HepTAC

Getting to Know our HepTAC Consultants

Liisa M. Randall is our featured HepTAC consultant this week! Her name might ring a bell since she’s been supporting NASTAD for 20 years! We are delighted to have her expertise on board as we continue to receive TA requests through HepTAC.

Dr. Liisa M. Randall, directs the Office of Health Care Planning for the Bureau of Infections Disease and Laboratory Sciences, Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In this position she leads development and implementation of policy and strategies to strengthen public health infrastructure and capacity for public health response; directs evaluation of new strategies to prevent and control infectious disease and to advance integration of public health and primary care; and leads capacity building and quality improvement activities.  Previous positions included directing statewide HIV and hepatitis prevention programs for the State of Michigan, and conducting policy research with the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, Michigan State University.  Dr. Randall holds a doctorate in medical anthropology. 

Keep the requests coming by submitting them through our online portal here. Our team responds within 72 hours to address your needs and pair you with an expert consultant as needed.

NASTAD’s 2019 National HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting: Leveraging Integrated Programs to End the Epidemics

December 3 – 5, 2019 in Washington DC

The excitement is growing as the meeting is officially upon us! The agenda for this meeting addresses challenges and opportunities health departments are currently facing in administering HIV and hepatitis programs with sessions focusing on addressing the continuum of HIV and hepatitis services. There will be a Hepatitis Pathway integrated into plenaries, workshops, and roudtables across four different tracks: ADAP, Care, Data and Surveillance, and Prevention.

Many thanks to everyone for your thoughtful feedback in the planning process. There will be several sessions that are discussion heavy to allow for attendees to share and collaborate with peers. We look forward to engaging in a federal partner listening session focused on hepatitis elimination; roundtable discussions on HBV and HCV elimination planning (+ several others of interest, it’ll be hard to choose); and a networking lunch  about community engagement and raising the voices of people with lived hepatitis experiences.  

We look forward to your participation in this year’s National HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting—see you in December!

NASTAD's Minority Leadership Program

Still Time to apply!
NASTAD’s application cycle is open for the 2020 Minority Leadership Program (MLP). MLP serves as a space rooted in social justice for health department staff of color to engage in critical conversations about job advancement, institutional barriers, managing emotions and burnout, racial and gender-based microaggressions, triggers, staff and project management, communication, and more. Check out the website to learn more! Applications are due on November 15. Please share with passionate, junior-mid level professionals of color in your network today!

Case Studies: Medicaid Managed Care Plan Best Practices in Hepatitis C Linkage to Care, Treatment and Retention

NASTAD recently released a paper, Case Studies: Medicaid Managed Care Plan Best Practices in Hepatitis C Linkage to Care, Treatment, and Retention. This paper is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Center for State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal Support (CSTLTS). NASTAD also partnered with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), who contributed to research and editorial review. Please click here to read more.

Call for Public Comment

Request for Comment –Recommendations for Hepatitis C Screening Among Adults

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the opening of a public docket to obtain public comment on proposed new recommendations for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection screening for adults, including pregnant women. The new recommendations are intended for U.S. healthcare providers and will include supporting scientific evidence of the effectiveness and economic value of screening to diagnose current HCV infection among and pregnant women in the United States. Written comments must be received on or before December 27, 2019. Click here for ways to submit comments.

Join the webinar on Thursday, November 7 at 2:00 PM EST for more information about the hepatitis C screening recommendations and discuss how stakeholders can review and comment on the draft. Register here.

Resources

Activist Guide to Hepatitis C Virus Diagnostics 

From our friends at TAG: “The purpose of this guide is to provide information for you and your community. It builds on TAG’s Training Manual for Treatment Advocates: Hepatitis C Virus and Coinfection with HIV, which you can refer to for more detailed information about the prevention, latest treatments, and care for hepatitis C and HIV coinfection. This Activist Guide to Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Diagnostics aims to provide a deeper focus on diagnosis with updated information about the steps and different technologies involved in diagnosing a person with hepatitis C. It outlines major barriers to accessing testing technologies and services, similar to affordable access to the cure.” You can find the link here.

Upcoming Webinars:

Efforts to Increase Hepatitis B Testing and Vaccination in Correctional Facilities
NASTAD and Hep B United
Tuesday, November 12, 2:00 PM EST
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 and Tennessee. Click here to register.

Updated Hepatitis C Testing Recommendations
Thursday, November 7, 2:00 PM EST
CDC’s Viral Hepatitis Program is hosting a webinar to highlight information about the hepatitis C screening recommendations (anticipated publication in 2020) and discuss how stakeholders can review and comment on the draft recommendations. The recommendations propose that all adults age 18 years and older be screened for hepatitis C infection at least once in their lifetime and that pregnant women be screened for hepatitis C infection during each pregnancy. 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. See the table below for upcoming webinars and click here to register.

New international hepatitis C webinar series from CATIE
​Who doesn’t love a webinar series from Canada, eh?!
This fall, CATIE is launching a new international webinar series on hepatitis C featuring speakers and content from around the world. The next webinar is today, November 6 at 12:00 PM EST that focuses on lessons learned from supervised consumption and overdose prevention sites in Canada.

Archived Recordings:

Expanding Hepatitis Testing and Linkage to Care in Emergency Departments
NASTAD
This Hepatitis Testing Partnership webinar explored different models for hepatitis testing and linkage to care in emergency departments that highlighted different approaches to successfully reach individuals living with HCV and link them to care.

Hepatitis C: Completing the Diagnosis with HCV RNA Testing
APHL
This webinar shares 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.

National and State Initiatives to Prevent Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer
Hep B United
Panelists discussd 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. Click more to see the slideset and #justB treated video.

Hepatitis C and Drug User Health: The Latest international research and its implications for the front lines
CATIE & INHSU
This webinar highlighted important international issues and new research with a focus on hepatitis C in the context of drug user health. It also discussed the relevance and implications of international programming, policy and research for frontline practice in Canada.

Surveillance, Screening, Advocacy, and Linkage to Care
National Hepatitis Corrections Network (NHCN) Part 1: Reducing HCV in Corrections
This downloadable slideset and audio provides an examination of the burden of HCV in US correctional facilities; guidelines, challenges, and benefits of HCV screening in jails and prisons; the feasibility of HCV treatment in corrections; and strategies for improving linkage to HCV care upon community re-entry.

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.

National Hepatitis Corrections Network | April 1, 2019
This is a one-day meeting that’ll take place in advance of the Academic Health & Policy Conference on Correctional Health (see below). This will serve as 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 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. 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.

SYNChronicity 2020, The National Conference for HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ Health | May 11-12, 2020
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. Early bird registration available until December 20, 2019.

Job Opportunities

Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, Oklahoma State Department of Health

This position is responsible for strategic performance initiatives related to service, agency and statewide hepatitis prevention priorities. Assigned responsibilities involve planning of complex initiatives, developing and coordinating systems and policy actions relating to hepatitis and hepatitis prevention activities within Oklahoma. Click here for position details.

Patient Navigator, Liver Health Connections, CO

The patient navigator provides linkage-to-care services to all interested Liver Health Connection clients with reactive HCV tests and other liver health needs, as well as to clients referred by our community partners. They also answer questions about HAV, HBV, liver cancer, and NASH. Click here for position details.

Associate Director for Strategy and Implementation, Division of Viral Hepatitis, CDC

This position will oversee the Division’s Strategic Implementation Unit within the Office of the Director. This position will be responsible for identifying and developing public health policies, partnerships, and initiatives improving access to viral hepatitis prevention and treatment services across all populations, especially those with disproportionate burden of disease or barriers accessing services. Further, this position will oversee the development and application of strategies and activities accelerating the uptake of national viral hepatitis testing guidelines and vaccination recommendations. Click here for more information; closing November 6.

News Bulletin

Articles of Interest

Domestic

Opioid Epidemic May Be Driving Rise in Hep B Among Women in Appalachia HepMag, October 2019

An analysis of hepatitis B testing among women of childbearing age found a declining national rate but increases in several states. Study abstract here.

Integrated HCV care in HIV centers reaches more PWID than usual care

‘Results from a real-world study of implementing hepatitis C testing into integrated care centers that deliver HIV services to people who inject drugs demonstrated superior infection awareness, testing and treatment compared with usual care.’

Judge: Treatment of Tennessee inmates with hepatitis C improving

‘A federal judge in Nashville ruled this week that Tennessee's treatment of prisoners with hepatitis C is not grossly inadequate but warned the state to make good on its promises to treat more patients more quickly. In a Monday ruling, U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw noted that Tennessee has made a number of changes to improve treatment of the sometimes deadly disease within the past few months.’

A woman was dying of liver cancer, until a hepatitis C-infected organ saved her life, ABCNews

“Dr. James Burton Jr., a hepatologist at University of Colorado Health enrolled his patient in a new study that looked at whether hospitals could transplant a hepatitis C-positive organ into a patient and then cure the patient of the disease.”

Global

Targets and future direct-acting antiviral approaches to achieve hepatitis B virus cure, “Around 257 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which leads to almost 1 million deaths per year from complications, mainly decompensated cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The development of effective treatments for hepatitis C virus has led to hope for a cure for HBV. Understanding the HBV lifecycle is essential to develop new approaches, since each step is a potential target for drug development.”

Prevalence, estimated incidence, risk behaviours, and genotypic distribution of hepatitis C virus among people who inject drugs accessing harm-reduction services in Kenya: a retrospective cohort study, “Sub-Saharan Africa has a large population of people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, yet little is known about HCV among people who inject drugs this region. We assessed the prevalence of HCV mono-infection and HIV–HCV co-infection, and the estimated incidence, genotypes, and risk behaviours associated with HCV among people who inject drugs in Kenya.

Living in the shadows of hepatitis, “The prevalence of viral hepatitis infections varies by geographical region, but Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been identified as the region most affected by viral hepatitis worldwide. The main culprits for this widespread prevalence of viral hepatitis are factors such as socioeconomic conditions, migration, vaccination, and treatment policies.”

HCV, injection drug use, and the importance of harm reduction in Kenya, “Matthew Akiyama and colleagues' study1 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases fills an important gap in our understanding of hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence and risk factors among a geographically diverse sample of people who inject drugs (PWID) in Kenya and, by extension, other parts of sub-Saharan Africa and similar settings. The authors also reiterate the importance of supporting a robust array of harm-reduction services for PWID to prevent excess morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases.”

Effective prison-based treatment and linkage to care after release, “We read with interest Lara Tavoschi and colleagues' Article on the management of infectious diseases in European prisons. The authors describe the high burden of communicable diseases, including hepatitis C virus (HCV), in European prisons and how prioritizing health care in this sector has benefits for both prisoners and the broader community. Similarly, in Australia, there is a disproportionately high HCV seroprevalence among people in prison, reaching up to 50% among those who inject drugs.”