The Caring Ambassadors Program uses a unique approach in our work to address the elimination of viral hepatitis and specifically hepatitis C.

Our three main methods to combat hepatitis C are to Empower patients and providers to increase their knowledge of hepatitis C to improve access a cure; to Educate systems and communities on how to integrate viral hepatitis services into existing programming; and to Advocate on behalf of patients and communities to create sound policy, funding and messaging. We are honored to serve the community to help eliminate the largest infectious disease outbreak of our time; we promise to be BOLD in our approach to creating paths to health and making hepatitis C history.

The time is now. 71 million people worldwide are living with chronic Hepatitis C right now. It is the largest chronic infectious disease outbreak of our time…and it’s curable. Talk to your doctor about treatment for your Hepatitis C, and don’t take no for an answer.

MY CHOICES© is a tool to help you recognize and act upon what you can control in your health care journey to achieve optimal healing, regardless of the illness you face. It contains elements of a guide book, health planner, journal, and activity book to help orient you to and plan for the journey ahead.

Weekly News Update.
Caring Ambassadors Program provides 3 weekly news updates covering Lung Cancer News, Hepatitis C News, and My Choices© Update. Receive them delivered weekly to your inbox.

Weekly News Update

Hepatitis C News
Week Ending June 27, 2022

Towards the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health concern
“​NSW Health has today released a comprehensive plan to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health concern by 2028 with the NSW Hepatitis C Strategy 2022 – 2025. Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the new strategy is centred on prevention, testing, treatment and addressing stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.”

Two Highly Effective Direct-Acting Antiviral Regimens Identified for Hepatitis C Genotype 6
“Two direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimens — sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (SOF/VEL) and gelcaprevir/pibrentasvir (GLE/PIB) — had favorable outcomes and were safe for the treatment of hepatitis C virus genotype 6 (HCV-6) infection. These findings were published in the Journal of the Formosan Medical Association.”

What is the epidemiology for hepatitis C?
“The World Health Organization notes that 1.5 million new HCV infections occur each year. Less than half of those with an HCV infection clear the virus from their system within 6 months and without any treatment. Approximately 70% of people cannot rid their bodies of the virus and develop a chronic infection.”

Progress seen in proportion of pregnant persons with hep C screening
“There has been substantial progress in the proportion of pregnant persons screened for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but the testing rates are still low, according to an article published online June 9 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.”

WHO publishes updated guidance on hepatitis C infection – with new recommendations on treatment of adolescents and children, simplified service delivery and diagnostics
“Updated WHO Guidance on hepatitis C (HCV) infection was released today during a joint WHO-EASL-CDC symposium at the EASL International Liver Congress 2022 in London. These guidelines recommend a radical simplification of the care pathway to overcome barriers in access to HCV testing and treatment.”

Chronic Hepatitis B Infections Decreasing in Recent Years
“New data shows a drop in the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections and deaths among the youngest populations.”

Mood and Cognition Improve After Hepatitis C Cure
“People who were successfully treated for hepatitis C with direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy experienced improvements in their mood and cognition, according to study results published in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis. Over time, chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can lead to severe liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. It has also been linked to neuropsychiatric problems. For example, people with cirrhosis may develop hepatic encephalopathy, wherein toxins in the blood result in impaired brain function.”

Mystery Hepatitis Disease Has Now Killed 11 Children in U.S.
“Child hepatitis cases in the United States have caused 11 deaths and dozens of hospitalizations as part of an outbreak with no known cause, new data shows. Analysis published last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that there were a total of 296 cases of hepatitis with an unknown cause among U.S. children aged under 10 between October 1, 2021 and June 15 this year.”

My Choices© Update
Week Ending June 27, 2022

A Heart Healthy Diet: Food Lists, Diet Tips, and More
“Your heart is a complex organ that works continuously to provide your body with a constant supply of oxygenated blood. It’s part of the cardiovascular system, which also includes arteries, veins, and capillaries.”

Plant power: Using diet to lower cancer risk
“The choices you make at the grocery store have a bigger impact than just your dinner plans. Filling your plate with foods that are grown in the ground may be the best diet for cancer prevention.”

Too Many of Our Plates Are Missing Immune-Boosting Microbes
“What we eat affects the trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other germs that live in our digestive tract, referred to as our gut microbiome by scientists. Some of the many roles of theses microbes inside our bodies include changing how the immune system functions and influencing physical and mental health.”

What’s the Best Time of Day to Exercise? It Depends on Your Goals
“For most of us, the “best” time of day to work out is simple: When we can. Maybe that’s before or after work. Or when the gym offers free daycare. Or when our favorite instructor teaches our favorite class. That’s why we call it a “routine.” And if the results are the same, it’s hard to imagine changing it up.”

Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine: Supportive Treatments for Cancer Patients & Families
“Integrative medicine, a blend of complementary and lifestyle medicine, is often added to a comprehensive treatment plan alongside modern medical methods of diagnosis and treatment, said Eric Secor Jr., ND, PhD, LAc, associate medical director of integrative medicine at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute.”

Doctors increasingly prescribe time in nature to promote mental and physical health
“Combining greek prefix -bíos (“life”) with suffix -philía (“friendship and affinity”), German physiologist Erich Fromm first coined the term biophilia in 1973: “the passionate love of life and of all that is alive.”

Why Creating Micro-Routines Is Key To Reaching Your Maximum Wellness Potential
“When Haute Beauty expert Dr. Deepa Verma counsels her patients on overall wellness, she always emphasizes the four pillars of a healthy lifestyle: clean diet, restorative sleep, exercise, and stress reduction. To benefit our overall health and wellness, we must take these four pillars and make them habits. To do so, discipline, which is something that we do not have to think about doing because it has become engrained in the fiber of our being, is needed. Here Dr. Verma shares how she makes wellness optimization attainable both for herself and for her patients.”

How to Use New FDA Guide for Dietary Supplements
“More than half of Americans use dietary supplements, according to national surveys, fueling a billion-dollar industry. Yet studies show that many people don’t know enough about supplements’ active ingredients, recommended dosages, possible side effects and drug interactions.”

Practical Types Of Self-Care You Can Do Today
“Self-care is a buzzword that may conjure images of cucumber slice-covered eyes or a long soak in a candle-lit bath, but the meaning is much deeper than that. Nurturing yourself involves paying attention to your body as well as your emotional and mental well-being. And while it goes beyond pampering yourself, it doesn’t always mean a trip to your therapist is in order, either.”

The New Age of Naturopathy – How Integrative Medicine Works There
“A branch of complementary medicine known as naturopathy draws its therapeutic cues from nature and the cosmos. Within our bodies, there is an inherent harmony but also intrinsic chaos. Naturism stresses the need to return the body to a state of homeostasis to recover from any ailment. Unprecedented treatment that doesn’t need any medication! To fully appreciate the benefits of naturopathy, it’s essential that we first define what it is.”

3 Surprising Things That Affect Your Gut Health, From The Father Of Functional Medicine
“Your gut influences everything from your digestion to your mood to your immunity—it’s the foundation of your health, many would say. But because your gut touches so many functions in your body, it can be difficult to know what exactly triggers any gut issues you may have. Is it inflammation? FODMAPs? A lack of sleep? Yes, your diet can play a huge role, but other less obvious factors can wreak havoc on your gut without you even knowing it.”

What is reiki and does it work?
“The term reiki has been bandied around in wellness circles for years, but you’d be forgiven for tentatively uttering the question – what is reiki? A practice that’s been steadily growing in popularity, reiki is a safe and non-invasive form of energy-based healing that can promote relaxation and reduce stress through gentle touch.”

3 Ways To Address Mental Fatigue & How To Identify It, From A Health Coach
“Mental fatigue. Burnout. Exhaustion. Different phrases all describing the end result of pushing your body and mind too far. It’s a pervasive idea in today’s society that if you’re not hustling then you’re lazy, but it’s this exact mindset that can put your health at risk—particularly if you’re ignoring the signs your body is trying to send you.”

Energy therapy: What to know
“Energy therapies are healing techniques that treat the mind, body, and spirit. Doctors sometimes refer to them as alternative or complementary therapies. There is a growing interest in using energy therapies for a variety of health conditions.”

Use the arrows on the sides to scroll through content!

Hepatitis Awareness Month

hep·a·ti·tis

noun
a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver.

Hepatitis C kills more Americans than HIV. Hepatitis C is a fully curable and preventation virus that causes liver inflammation that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated. 2.4 million Americans are infected with the hepatitis C virus. About 1 million of those Americans have no idea. About 45% of those infected with the virus have no idea they are slowly dying.

Newsweek, April 22, 2002

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is not a new problem. The virus was identified in 1989, and the first interferon treatment was released in 1991, and direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) targeting HCV began in 2011. DAAs allow people to be cured of HCV with less side effects and less time that the first treatments. There is a cure. No one else needs to die.

Congress has refused to fund the elimination of the hepatitis C virus for deacdes. Congress has allocated only 10% of the needed money to eliminate hepatitis and save millions of Americans. Hepatitis will not wait, why is Congress?

Call Congress today and tell them to fund hepatitis elimination after years of inaction. 202-224-3121

Get Tested. Get Cured.

 

 

National Nutrition Month

We have all heard it before,

“You are what you eat.” 

Nourishing your body through any journey is essential. According to the CDC, fewer than 1 in 10 American adults and adolescents eat enough fruit and vegetables. An unhealthy diet can lead to increased chances of some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

Many illnesses can affect the way the body is able to process nutrients. Even some treatments have side effects that influence the bodies ability to use the fuel foods provide. Fueling your body correctly can actually help treatments be more effective.

Knowing the current dietary guidelines can help you make healthier decisions on your journey.

It’s not only about how much you eat, but what you eat plays a significant role in your wellness. There are many ways that you can approach improving your diet. You can learn more about nutrition and how to make changes in the Nutrition section of in MY CHOICES: A Planner of Healing. 

“No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.”

— Maimonides

Learning new habits is never an easy feat. Michael Pollan, a respected journalist, writer and professor offers a simple and effective recommendation,

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Sounds easy enough, right? We put together a list of his 7 rules for eating well to help you create your new eating habits. Great for hanging on the fridge for a daily reminder.

Cancer Prevention Month

DID YOU KNOW?!

    • The liver is a complex organ that is involved in over 500 body functions!
    • A human body cannot survive more than 24 hours without a liver.
    • The liver helps detoxify blood, creating vital substances like proteins, and processing nearly every class of nutrient.

Your liver and cancer

Hepatitis C is the most common blood born viral infection in the US. An estimated 325 million people have viral hepatitis, globally. In left untreated, hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer.

There is a cure for hepatitis C, and it is detected by a simple blood test. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

 

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with hepatitis C?

Conversations with health care professionals can be intimidating. Keeping track of what you need to ask and the answers to your questions can be overwhelming. Hep C Discussion Point was created to aid in this part of the process. This completely free and confidential tool is built for starting and continuing conversations about treating hepatitis C.

For additional information about promoting overall health, check out MY CHOICES: A Planner for Healing©

Get Tested. Get Cured

Hepatitis C, or hepatitis C virus (HCV) should not be a mystery. Hepatitis C is the most common, chronic blood-borne viral infection in the United States. Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver acts as a filter for blood, processes nutrients and fights infections. It is an important organ to help your body maintain wellness. You can learn more about hepatitis C symptoms here.

To see if there has been been exposed to HCV, there is a simple blood test. There are many ways that one could have been exposed to HCV. Learn about hepatitis C transmission here.

Unlike many chronic viruses, hepatitis C is curable with antiviral treatment.

Challenge yourself in 2022 to know your HCV status.

Get Tested. Get Cured.

Talk to your doctor about hepatitis C. We understand that starting that conversation can be hard.

Click here to visit Hep C Discussion Point, a tool designed to help you choose topics to discuss with your health care team.

 

An update from the CDC….

Dear Colleagues,

 On November 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued final orders reclassifying two types of hepatitis C diagnostic tests from Class III to Class II, thereby allowing manufacturers to seek marketing clearance through the less burdensome premarket notification (510(k)) pathway, rather than submitting a premarket approval application (PMA), the most stringent type of FDA medical device review. The two types of hepatitis C virus (HCV) diagnostic tests now reclassified are (1) nucleic acid-based HCV ribonucleic acid devices intended for the qualitative or quantitative detection or genotyping of HCV RNA, and (2) certain HCV antibody devices intended for the qualitative detection of HCV antibodies.

Reclassifying these tests is groundbreaking for hepatitis C diagnostics as it may:

  • Expedite, and in some cases facilitate, bringing methodologies such as rapid nucleic acid tests and potentially antigen detection tests for diagnosis of current HCV infection to the U.S. market 
  • Facilitate development of innovative technologies for point-of-care viral detection assays for diagnosis of current HCV infection
  • Decrease cost, increase competition, and provide smaller companies an opportunity to develop new and improved assays which has the potential to decrease diagnostic device costs
  • Shorten the regulatory approval process time and, thus, decrease turn-around time

Discussions and recommendations regarding reclassification of diagnostic tests for HCV started in 2018 and involved many advisory committees and panels to assess the potential risks, safety, effectiveness, and benefits of the devices if cleared under the proposed Class II special controls. CDC appreciates the work of the FDA to facilitate improvements in HCV diagnostic testing and looks forward to continued work to address the threat of viral hepatitis in the United States. 

This work by the FDA coupled with CDC’s HCV screening recommendations sets the stage to increase hepatitis C testing and linkage to curative treatment, reducing further disease transmission, disease progression, and related deaths. 

More information on the reclassification of HCV diagnostic tests is available at: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-brief-fda-issues-final-orders-reclassifying-certain-hepatitis-c-diagnostic-tests-class-iii-class

Thank you,

/Carolyn Wester/

Carolyn Wester, MD

Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis

National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/

 

/Saleem Kamili/

Saleem Kamili, PhD

Chief, Laboratory Branch

Division of Viral Hepatitis

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/

 

 /Jonathan Mermin/

Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH

Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS

Director, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

www.cdc.gov/nchhstp

Join the World Hepatitis Day Movement!

We can’t wait for the pandemic to end to get hepatitis elimination back on track!

Hepatitis Can't wait awareness poster

CDC Releases 2019 Hepatitis Numbers – We are on the wrong road to elimination!

Today, CDC published online the 2019 Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Report for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. This report now includes demographic characteristics of persons with chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, urbanicity, and US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regions.

National Hepatitis Testing Day Proclamation

The White House

BRIEFING ROOM

 A Proclamation on National Hepatitis Testing Day, 2021

MAY 18, 2021   •    PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS

Our efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year have reinforced many public health lessons, including the importance of communication, community engagement, and a comprehensive testing strategy to reduce the spread of infection. These same lessons hold true for another epidemic affecting our Nation: the silent epidemic of viral hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is a serious, preventable public health threat that puts people who are infected at increased risk for serious disease and death. When left undiagnosed and untreated, hepatitis B and hepatitis C can cause liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even early death. Hepatitis D, which occurs only among individuals infected with hepatitis B, can also cause serious liver disease.

On this National Hepatitis Testing Day, I call on all Americans who are at risk for hepatitis to get tested, and for all health care providers to educate their patients about viral hepatitis.

Our Nation has set a goal to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. Thanks to Federal investment in medical research, we have the technology and tools to provide safe and effective hepatitis vaccines and therapeutics that can reduce mortality and even lead to a cure. Despite this progress, an estimated 2.4 million Americans are living with hepatitis C, and more than 860,000 are living with hepatitis B — many of whom unknowingly suffer its effects.

Approximately 200,000 Americans are infected with hepatitis D every year. Infection with hepatitis D in an individual already infected with hepatitis B — known as superinfection — leads to a more rapid progression towards liver cancer. We must increase prevention, testing, and awareness to provide people the life-saving treatment they need. Because of the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans must cover hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing with no cost-sharing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends screening and testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatitis D based on risk, health status, and pregnancy. It is important we implement these recommendations to ensure proper treatment and help stop the spread of hepatitis. For more information on the recommendations, visit cdc.gov/hepatitis.

My Administration is committed to addressing the health disparities and health inequities, which, as with so many health metrics, are also seen with viral hepatitis. Viral hepatitis disproportionately impacts Black and brown Americans, Indigenous persons, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. The interplay of factors such as poverty, inadequate housing and transportation, food insecurity, access to care, access to addiction treatment and mental health care, medical mistrust, language and cultural barriers, stigma, and discrimination must be addressed if we are to eliminate these health disparities and advance health equity. The recently released Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan: A Roadmap to Elimination is focused on making sure more people living with viral hepatitis are tested and aware of their status and providing a roadmap for quality care and treatment. To read more about the plan, visit hhs.gov/hepatitis.

The viral hepatitis epidemic is also linked with other public health threats, including HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and opioid use. Our response to the public health challenges of viral hepatitis, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and substance use disorders will require a focus on the people and places where these risk factors intersect, and doing more to test people for viral hepatitis and other infections. We also need to scale-up vaccinations, testing, and care in settings where people at risk receive other services. Implementing point-of-care testing in outreach settings, utilizing clinical decision support tools, and increasing provider awareness and training for implementing testing recommendations will help improve diagnoses and awareness. The ability to reduce viral hepatitis infections will depend on integrated strategies and a comprehensive approach to address our ongoing challenges.

Viral hepatitis exacts a significant toll on our Nation’s health, and the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease further impair the quality of life among those affected. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring everyone knows their viral hepatitis status, has access to high quality care and treatment, and lives free from stigma and discrimination.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 19, 2021, as National Hepatitis Testing Day. I encourage all Americans to join in activities that will increase awareness about viral hepatitis and increase viral hepatitis testing.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States

of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

 

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/05/18/a-proclamation-on-national-hepatitis-testing-day-2021/

COVID-19 and Liver Disease