Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West March 24, 2020

NASTAD Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Resources

NASTAD continues to closely monitor the community outbreaks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United States and the rapidly evolving public health responses to contain and mitigate the infection. We are committed to providing NASTAD members with potentially useful information, as it becomes available, to help ensure the continuity of essential programming and the protection of people living with and vulnerable to HIV infection and viral hepatitis. Click here to see related resources for the following:

  • Antiretroviral (ARV) and Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) Supply Chains
  • Repurposing ARVs for COVID-19 Treatment
  • RWHAP Considerations
  • Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) & Drug User Health
  • Legislative and Regulatory Responses
  • Health Department Staffing Impact

If you have any questions, please email covid19@NASTAD.org

At this time, NASTAD leadership has decided to postpone, cancel, or make virtual all NASTAD convenings/meetings from now through April 30 (which will be revisited in the coming weeks). NASTAD staff has been asked to work remotely through March 31, until further notice.

Postponed convenings also include:

  • Hepatitis on the Hill (New dates: September 8-10, 2020)
  • NASTAD’s Minority Leadership Summit
  • NASTAD’s Annual Meeting

The words of Stephen Lee, Executive Director: “We have heard from many of you about travel restrictions and the significant deployment of you and your staff to the COVID-19 response. Additionally, with evolving but increasingly conservative recommendations regarding social distancing strategies, planning a large convening in the coming months has become unadvisable.”

At this time, NASTAD is considering alternative dates for meetings that have not been rescheduled yet and we will keep everyone posted once finalized.

AASLD

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) sent a letter to Dr. Redfield at CDC recommending that “patients with any chronic liver disease and those who have undergone liver transplantation or are listed for transplantation be included on the list of patients with chronic illness and immunocompromised considered vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.” Click here to see the full letter and supporting tweets below. Additionally, NASTAD will partner with AASLD and NVHR in furtherance of this recommendation. 

AAPCHO

We encourage everyone to visit the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organization’s (AAPCHO) website dedicated to COVID-19 policy updates and resources for health centers, including in-language materials that address stigma, cultural humility, and additional public health considerations.

Additional resources to check out:

COVID Requests for Information:

Thanks to those who have already responded.

  1. California Department of Health would like to know if any agencies prepared guidance or taken other steps regarding COVID-19 transmission in harm reduction settings and/or with populations served by harm reduction programs . Please reach out to Matt Curtis and hepatitis@nastad.org with resources or strategies that have been developed.
  2. Additionally, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) has launched a crowd sourcing project to collect Asian American and Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander in-language COVID-19 resources. APIAHF will gather all of the responses and organize them by language here, so that people can see the variety of available resources. Please fill out the form here to submit a response.

NASTAD Announcements:

Getting to Know our HepTAC Consultants  

We hope this brings a smile to your face as we continue to highlight our HepTAC consultants. This month we are delighted to feature Stephen Crowe—and his recuse pug, Mini!

Based in South Florida, Stephen is currently a public health consultant for and founder of NEU Health Solutions (Navigating, Empowering, Uniting), providing tailored consulting services to meet the needs of community-based organizations, nonprofits, community groups, health care entities, local and state health departments, and national organizations. Throughout his career, he has served in various roles working with community members, patients, and the people in their lives to address needs related to their HIV and/or HCV status: from frontline case management and targeted outreach, to linkage to care program management, syringe exchange program coordination, statewide quality of care improvement activities for HIV and HCV heath care programs, and expansion to life-saving medication for addiction treatment (MAT) for people who use opioids. When not working, he loves traveling with his husband, playing with their rescue pug Mini, going to the beach, cooking, and music.

Keep submitting your TA requests through HepTAC and we’ll match your needs with the expertise of our consultants.  

Join NASTAD—Manager, Policy & Legislative Affairs

This position will play 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.  To apply, click here.

CDC Updates

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) announced on March 25, that they are cancelling CDC PS20-2009 Integrated Viral Hepatitis Surveillance and Prevention Funding for Health Departments. The NOFO has been cancelled in response to concerns expressed to CDC about health departments’ limited capacity as they respond to COVID-19. DVH’s Director, Dr. Carolyn Wester, provides that continuation guidance for PS17-1702 and PS17-1703 grantees regarding funding to sustain their programs until the new award begins is forthcoming. CDC plans to reissue a viral hepatitis funding opportunity in FY2021.
 
Please see the official announcement on CDC’s website and for additional information, please reach out to Boatemaa.

Additional Updates:

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

The USPSTF released its updated recommendation for Screening for Hepatitis C Infection. The USPSTF recommends screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in adults aged 18 to 79 years. This recommendation applies to all asymptomatic adults aged 18 to 79 years without known liver disease. Additionally, the recommendation received a Grade B. The Affordable Care Act requires private insurers and Medicaid to cover preventive services that receive a grade A or B; and Medicare is authorized to expand coverage of preventive services consistent with USPSTF recommendations. If you have questions or concerns, please email us at hepatitis@nastad.org

HHS Assistant Secretary for Health States Commitment to Viral Hepatitis Elimination

Check out the tweet from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) ADM. Brett Giroir! The updated National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan outlining the strategy to combat viral hepatitis is expected to be by HHS released soon. NASTAD anticipates a robust advocacy strategy surrounding the plan’s release and will work to shape its goals and strategies to best reflect the practices necessary to end the viral hepatitis epidemic.

Congratulations Corner—End Hep C San Diego!


Photo courtesy of Scott Suckow: Eliminate Hepatitis C stakeholders during the Live Well San Diego 5K in front of the San Diego County Administration Building

From Scott Suckow, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Division of the American Liver Foundation: “A plan to Eliminate Hepatitis C in San Diego County by 2030 was approved unanimously by the County Board of Supervisors on March 10, 2020.  The Plan included nine overarching recommendations and was developed over a 12-month period from November 2018 to November 2019.  The American Liver Foundation facilitated the process through a public-private partnership between the County and community stakeholders.  Stakeholders will return to the Board of Supervisors with a detailed Implementation Plan on World Hepatitis Day (July 28, 2020).  Link here for a copy of the plan.”

Archived Webinars:

2019 Novel Coronavirus: Legal Preparedness and Public Health Response Efforts
Co-sponsored by the Network for Public Health Law and the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics
This webinar provided legal, policy, and practical guidance related to international and domestic public health response to COVID-19. See slides and recording here.

Upcoming Meetings

National Hepatitis Corrections Network | *Postponed, new date pending 
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 | *Postponed, new date pending 
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.   

National Latinx Conference on HIV/HCV/SUD | *Postponed, new date pending 
Albuquerque, NM  
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.   

The RX Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit | April 13 – 16, 2020*Postponed, new date pending 
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.   

Prevent Cancer Dialogue | April 15-17 *virtual event only, new date pending
Arlington, VA 
This is a national conference that brings a diversity of stakeholders together to discuss the best ways to reinforce cancer screening, prevention and risk reduction initiatives in their communities. The schedule is packed with unique opportunities for participants to immerse themselves in engaging presentations, facilitated conversations, relationship building and more.

SYNChronicity, The National Conference for HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ Health
*New Date: December 15-17, 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. Click here for registration information.   

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) | June 28 – July 2   
Seattle, WA  
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.

Lastly, a lighthearted moment...

This was witnessed at a local grocery store in northeast DC with some commentary to follow, featured in PopVille, March 17, 2020

  “…on the positive side, T-Rex would also have been unable to touch its face with its hands.”

Thanks to everyone for your flexibility and devoted efforts during this time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to hepatitis@nastad.org or any member of the Hepatitis Team.

In solidarity—
NASTAD’s Hepatitis Team