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.

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Free brochures and materials

Order Educational Materials. Caring Ambassadors Program believes that knowledge is power. We strive to empower patients, systems and communities to increase their knowledge of hepatitis C in effort to eliminate the largest infectious disease outbreak of our time. 

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 January 18, 2022

“Hep ElimiNATION” to Assess and Guide U.S. Efforts to End Hepatitis
“In January 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan for the United States: A Roadmap to Elimination 2021–2025, which spelled out five main goals for the next five years. So did the United States make any progress last year? How can we gauge whether we’re on track to end viral hepatitis? A new partnership between researchers and advocates titled Hep ElimiNATION aims to assess exactly that as well as offer guidance.”

Starting Hepatitis C Treatment at Time of Diagnosis Leads to High Cure Rate
“People with hepatitis C who start direct-acting antiviral treatment when and where they are diagnosed had a high likelihood of achieving a cure, according to study results presented at the 2021 AASLD Liver Meeting. By eliminating the need to navigate the medical system, this model could be a good option for marginalized populations, including people experiencing homelessness and people who inject drugs.”

Animation Aims to Educate on Hepatitis C
“Test!Treat!Cure! features infectious disease physician Dr. MarkAlain Déry and community health expert Dr. Eric Griggs in a 2Tone musical animation. The video uses the upbeat sounds of ska to educate viewers on reducing risks of liver cancer by testing for hepatitis C.”

Racial, ethnic disparities in patients with HCC reveal need to reduce barriers to care
“Among patients newly diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma, there are significant racial and ethnic differences in barriers to care, according to survey results published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.”

A minimal monitoring approach for the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection (ACTG A5360 [MINMON]): a phase 4, open-label, single-arm trial
“Despite widespread availability of direct-acting antivirals including generic formulations, limited progress has been made in the global adoption of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment. Barriers to treatment scale-up include availability and access to diagnostic and monitoring tests, health-care infrastructure, and requirement for frequent visits during treatment.”

Long-Term Prescription Opioid Use Linked to Higher Risk of Hepatitis C
“Prescription opioid use is associated with a significant risk of hepatitis C virus (HCV) seroconversion, according to new research. A team, led by James Wilton, MPH, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, assessed the link between medically dispensed long-term prescription opioid therapy for noncancer pain and HCV seroconversion among individuals who were initially injection drug use-naïve.”

Can Non-Invasive Medical Devices Help Halt Liver Disease?
“A silent liver disease epidemic is sweeping the country and the world through a rise in chronic liver diseases, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its more severe form non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH can lead to advanced fibrosis and liver cancer, liver transplantation, and increased risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality, while NAFLD is one of the most common causes of liver disease in the United States. Experts state that about 24% of U.S. adults have NAFLD and about 1.5% to 6.5% of U.S. adults have NASH.”

Integrating Predictive Models Into Care: Facilitating Informed Decision-Making and Communicating Equity Issues
“As predictive models proliferate, providers and decision makers require accessible information to guide their use. Preventing and combating bias must also be priorities in model development and in communication with providers and decision makers.”

My Choices© Update
Week Ending January 18, 2022

Licorice And Slippery Elm Tea Are Best For A Sore Throat
“Although you can get a cold throughout the year, most people have a higher risk of the common cold in the winter and spring months.1 One of the most common symptoms is a sore throat. The Guardian characterizes the common cold as having “the twin distinction of being both the world’s most widespread infectious disease and one of the most elusive.”2”

Eat Better to Sleep Better: The Surprising Connection (Both Positive and Negative) Between Diet and Sleep, Backed by Considerable Science
“Research shows sleep and food are inextricably intertwined: If you don’t get enough sleep, your diet suffers. And vice versa.”

How To Jump The 6 Biggest Hurdles Of New Fitness Goals
“Beginning a fitness journey is pretty easy: You invest in some workout gear, you sign up for a program or a gym, you do a workout or two. Continuing on that path is the tricky bit—but the good news is there are plenty of strategies to help you succeed.”

What to know about holy basil
“Holy basil is an herb from the basil family. It has several possible health benefits and is significant in some forms of traditional medicine.”

A Way Out of Seasonal Depression
“There is a reason why so many holidays occur during the fall and winter months. For many, these light-filled festivities serve as a symbol of hope, something to look forward to when darkening days threaten to bring a bout of seasonal depression.”

More Olive Oil May Bring Longer Life
“Folks who consume more than 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil a day are less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or lung disease when compared to people who consume less of this healthy fat, a new study finds.”

Scientists Work Out How Exercise Saves Your Brain
“Exercise helps you stay fit, hale and hearty, and researchers say it may also help you stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Now they have a better understanding of the hidden benefits that aid the brain.”

The benefits of Acupuncture
“Many people are turning to other ways to reduce stress in their lives. West Knox Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine offer many services to decrease pain emotionally and physically. One of which is acupuncture, a practice that has been used for thousands of years.”

The Last Word: Do You Really Need to Take 10,000 Steps a Day?
“The goal of reaching 10,000 steps per day has inspired countless movement challenges and remains the default setting on many fitness trackers. Maybe hitting that step goal, which is equivalent to about 5 miles, is part of your own wellness routine.”

What Is Integrative Therapy?
“Integrative therapy is a theoretical school of thought in the field of psychology that helps to shape the approaches some psychologists, therapists, and other mental health professionals use in practice. It is also referred to as integrative psychotherapy or psychotherapy integration.1”

Vitamin D supplements, heart health, and cancer risk
“Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which improves bone strength. Among other roles, it also contributes to the functioning of muscles, nerves, and the immune system.”

Making This Food Swap Could Lengthen Your Life, New Study Suggests
“There are lots of benefits to cutting back on meat in favor of eating more plant-based products. Doing so could protect your brain, help your skin, and boost your energy levels. Now, new research suggests that swapping out the calories you get from animal-based proteins for the same amount from plant-based proteins could help you live longer and lower your risk of dying from heart disease.”

6 Things To Know When Selecting a Complementary Health Practitioner
“If you’re looking for a complementary health practitioner to help treat a medical problem, it is important to be as careful and thorough in your search as you are when looking for conventional care.”

Qigong.

“Qigong is quite literally “Moving Meditation”. As with all meditation practices, Qigong has an incredibly calming effect on the central nervous system. As the mind, breath, and body are connected to the moment, the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged and the brain releases all sorts of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin and dopamine.”
https://theecohub.ca/5-healing-benefits-of-qigong/

Try session 3 of Qigong with Sifu Larry Wong

Click here to view on vimeo
Would you like to try session 2?
Click here

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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

CDC Releases 2025 Strategic Plan

CDC Releases 2025 Strategic Plan for preventing and controlling viral hepatitis in the United States. New outcome measures were identified to track national progress toward these goals. These measures are included in the second publication released today, the online 2021 National Viral Hepatitis Progress Report.

BIGG Elimination Tribute Project

The BIGG ELIMINATION TRIBUTE PROJECT is a module-based training to help establish replicable frameworks for HCV prevention & education using harm reduction strategies.

The overall goal is to build attendees’ capacity, confidence, and knowledge to integrate responsive hepatitis C (HCV) screening, testing, linkage-to-care/cure, and support programs into existing infrastructures.

Learn more about the modules here