Highlighting Health Department Hepatitis Program Success Stories

By Alyssa Kitlas July 10, 2018

As part of this year’s Unite to End the HIV and Viral Hepatitis Epidemics Chair’s Challenge and in recognition of Hepatitis Awareness Month and Testing Day, NASTAD released an installment of Success Stories in June featuring health department hepatitis programs. These stories highlighted initiatives in Louisiana, Maryland, and Mississippi, that aim to increase testing and linkage to care for hepatitis B and C and ultimately work toward eliminating hepatitis in the U.S. 

The Louisiana Department of Health partnered with three clinic sites in high-prevalence areas to increase HCV screening, retention, and cure among people of color co-infected with HIV and HCV through provider education and practice transformation. In Maryland, the Department of Health established a multi-jurisdiction HCV testing and linkage to care program in collaboration with local public health and community leaders to respond to the gaps that exist along the continuum and reach individuals most impacted by HCV. The Mississippi Department of Health’s "Test to Treat Family and Self" program provides culturally competent HBV education, evidence based-interventions to empower community members to manage their chronic illnesses, and insurance navigation in coastal Vietnamese communities.

At a time of limited resources and great need, NASTAD recognizes the importance of connecting health departments and their partners to best practices that are working so these models can be adapted and implemented in jurisdictions across the U.S. We have included information below on the five previously released Success Stories about hepatitis programs for additional ideas and strategies for responding to the hepatitis B and C epidemics in your community.  

  • New Mexico’s U-30 Enhanced Hepatitis C (HCV) Surveillance Project aims to collect accurate information on individuals under 30 years old who are living with HCV and provide them with health education, prevention messages, and referrals. 
  • The Oklahoma Department of Health developed a culturally appropriate and effective HCV awareness campaign for baby boomers (i.e., persons born between 1945 and 1965) who seek medical care within the Cherokee Nation. This awareness campaign focused on reducing new infections, was one component of a multi-party collaborative effort to eliminate HCV and improve the health of Native Americans in the Cherokee Nation Health Service (CHNS) by developing a community based program to test, treat, and cure HCV.
  • The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) launched a Perinatal Hepatitis C Program (PHCP) in January 2016 in response to the increasing incidence of HCV infection among pregnant women, driven by the opioid epidemic. The PHCP identifies HCV-positive pregnant women and contacts them to assess their knowledge of perinatal transmission, encourage them to seek care for HCV, and request permission to coordinate post-natal follow up between their prenatal providers and pediatricians. 
  • The San Francisco Department of Public Health co-convenes End Hep C SF, a multi-sector collective impact approach working to eliminate HCV and HCV-related stigma in San Francisco. This initiative released a 2017-2019 strategic plan highlighting five major priorities for elimination which include strengthening the overall End Hep C SF framework, making better use of data to guide programs and policies, improving education and prevention strategies, increasing community-based testing and linkage, and expanding access to HCV treatment.
  • Tennessee’s Statewide HIV/HCV Vulnerability Assessment was conducted as an ecological study using a dimension reduction statistical methodology across various local data sources (e.g., United States Census; surveillance data from multiple Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) programs, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) to score each county’s risk for an HIV/HCV outbreak.  

If you have any questions about these stories and/or NASTAD’s hepatitis program, please contact Alyssa Kitlas, Manager, Hepatitis.