Write your elected officials
Write your state and local elected representatives. Tell them you want hepatitis C moved to the top of their health agenda. Here is a sample letter and contact information:
Find your State’s Senators: http://www.senate.gov/
Find your State's Representatives: http://www.house.gov/
Dear Representative _________,
I encourage you cosponsor [choose one & delete the other: HR 3381 (for House) or SB 1809 (for Senate)], The Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2011. This important legislation establishes, promotes, and implements hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) screening and testing programs at State, local, territorial, and tribal levels. Most Americans with HBV or HCV remain unaware of their status, and this legislation aims to increase to 75% by 2016 the proportion of people chronically infected. Currently, only an estimated 25% of people chronically infected with HCV and 35% of people chronically infected with HBV have ever been diagnosed. Earlier diagnosis of HBV and HCV is critical for preventing and managing the most serious effects – such as liver cancer and liver failure – of chronic viral hepatitis infection.
The Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2011 amends the Public Health Service Act to increase hepatitis prevention and control activities. It affects people at risk for and chronically infected with hepatitis B and C by increasing:
- education for patients and health care providers,
- access to hepatitis testing and liver cancer prevention screening,
- supporting viral hepatitis prevention and education programs across the U.S.
An estimated 5.3 million people living in the United States are infected with either HBV or HCV. At least 2% of the people in your district are living with one of these chronic diseases.
YOUR STORY HERE
The cost implications of HBV and HCV today and in the future are enormous. Much of this future cost is avoidable with earlier diagnosis and intervention. A modest investment in education and testing programs today will bend the cost curve associated with these serious epidemics, containing the spiraling medical costs of end-stage liver disease and saving the lives of Americans living with these silent killers.
We urge you to make liver cancer prevention a leading health priority in Congress through expanding screening and testing for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Please support the Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2011.
[End Sample Letter]