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.

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 October 03, 2022

Co-Infected HIV, Hepatitis C Patients May Have Increased Risk of Heart Attack
“Research suggests that an HIV patient’s risk of heart attack increases with each passing decade, and this risk is nearly 3-fold among patients with HIV who are also positive for hepatitis C.”

Liver fibrosis may not improve beyond one year after hepatitis C cure
“After being cured of hepatitis C, markers of liver fibrosis do not continue to decline one year beyond cure, a study of women living with HIV and hepatitis C in the United States has found. The results challenge the assumption that most people with hepatitis C can expect to experience a long-term improvement in liver health after hepatitis C cure and highlight the need for ongoing monitoring of liver fibrosis after hepatitis C, say the study investigators.”

Increase in hepatitis C infections in young adults
“This week Bobbi Conner talks with Dr. Morgan Lange about increasing hepatitis C infections in young adults and effective treatments for this condition. Dr. Lange is a clinical pharmacist at MUSC.”

Non-Targeted Screening Program Could Identify More HCV Infections
“With an all-ready challenging patient population to treat, having a program to get more people into treatment can be helpful in an underserved group.”

Only one in 10 people with HCV and an indication offered PrEP, study finds
“While hepatitis C and HIV share many of the same risk factors, people with HCV are not often discussed as a priority population for HIV prevention,” Kristi C. Hill, MD, intern at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, told Healio. “Our research group was already conducting a larger study evaluating the overlap of transmission networks for HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) that involved the collection of epidemiologic data for patients with HIV and/or HCV.”

Precautionary Antiviral Therapy Prevents Chronic Hepatitis C in Transplant Recipients
“A short, preemptive regimen of direct-acting antivirals prevented chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in all recipients of organ transplants from donors with the virus, according to findings from a multicenter study presented at the International Liver Congress in London.”

Chronic HCV Patients do not Have Significant Gut Microbiota Differences
“There is not much differences in gut microbiota between patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) and healthy control individuals.”

Sure Signs You Have Damaged Your Liver
“According to the CDC, 4.5 million US adults have liver disease. “Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol — common features of metabolic syndrome — are all known major risk factors for the development of fatty liver disease,” says Craig Lammert, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a practicing gastroenterologist and hepatologist at IU Health.”

My Choices© Update
Week Ending October 03, 2022

A healthy lifestyle is positively associated with mental health and well-being and core markers in ageing
“Studies often evaluate mental health and well-being in association with individual health behaviours although evaluating multiple health behaviours that co-occur in real life may reveal important insights into the overall association.”

5 Health Benefits of Taking a Bath, Plus 5 Healthy Add-Ins for Your Next Soak
“Which is better — taking a shower or a bath? The answer to the age-old debate comes down to personal preference, but it’s no secret that most Americans prefer showers.”

Medical Misinformation Harms Us All
“As the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox (MPX) outbreak a global health emergency, a new wave of anti-LGBTQ+ vitriol crested alongside it. Now, the MPX backlash has been added to the ongoing circulation of medical misinformation associated with the COVID pandemic, both in the US and abroad.”

Does gua sha really work? The health benefits of traditional medicine’s ‘best kept secret’
“Gua sha, an ancient healing technique, is getting buzz in the modern world. Also known as “skin scraping” or “scraping therapy,” it’s used to treat chronic pain, relieve stress and even help with headaches.”

How One Condition Is Often Mistaken for Parkinson’s
“Tremors and jerking movement make people think of Parkinson’s disease, but a Hartford HealthCare movement disorders neurologist said it can easily be a sign of dystonia as well.”

A Princeton-Trained PhD Says These 3 Foods Will Optimize Your Metabolism
“At mindbodygreen, we’ve waxed poetic on the importance of gut health. But in case you need a quick reminder: Your gut is at the forefront of basically every function in your body, including, yes, your metabolism.”

Can Exercise Reduce Your Cancer Risk?
“Most of us, at one point or another, have probably been told by our doctor that we should be exercising. Researchers have known for some time that regular physical activity can be helpful for maintaining good health, explaining this common recommendation at your regular check-up.”

Immune health: Show consumers the evidence
“Society’s initial fears over COVID-19 may have faded, but they still fundamentally changed consumer attitudes towards health and wellbeing. Consumers are now looking for long-lasting ways to enhance their wellbeing and to prevent potential future illness before infection—namely, by prioritizing their immune health.”

Gender differences with bladder pain
“Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) is a chronic condition that causes bladder pressure, pain and lower urinary tract symptoms. It affects 3-8 million women and 1-4 million men in the U.S.”

Could a Daily Multivitamin Be Enough to Slow Cognitive Decline?
“The research, which also showed daily multivitamin intake yields even greater health benefits in people with a history of cardiovascular disease, was based on observation of cognitive performance in two groups over three years. One group took a cocoa extract supplement daily; the other took a multivitamin. More than 2,200 people were included in the study.”

Average Life Expectancy Has Dropped by 3 Years – But Why?
“COVID-19 is being largely blamed for a recent drop in life expectancy, but one Hartford HealthCare expert said other factors related to the pandemic might be more to blame than the virus itself.”

How to improve heart health
“Heart disease is a major public health concern in the United States. Besides taking medicines a doctor prescribes, a person can take a range of actions to improve their heart health. This includes eating a healthy diet, keeping active, and avoiding behaviors such as smoking.”

What Is Biofeedback Therapy? A Beginner’s Guide to This Health Approach
“It may sometimes feel like you have little control over what happens inside your body, and how that affects your overall health. But there is a way to harness physiological functions like breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, skin temperature, and even brain waves so they work to your healing advantage. “

Mind-body practices lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes
“Mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation are increasingly popular tools for promoting health and combating diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Approximately 66% of Americans with type 2 diabetes use mind-body practices and many do so because they believe it helps control their blood sugar. Until now, however, whether mind-practices can reduce blood glucose levels has never been rigorously quantified. “

Key takeaways from Biden’s conference on hunger and nutrition in America
“President Biden pushed for Congress to permanently extend the child tax credit, raise the minimum wage and expand nutrition assistance programs to help reduce hunger rates as he opened the second-ever conference on food insecurity and diet-related diseases. But the administration faces a sharp uphill battle.”

New Guidance on Acupuncture, Massage, Yoga for Cancer Pain
“New guidelines highlight the role that integrative pain management techniques, such as massage, acupuncture, and music therapy, can play in relieving certain types of cancer pain in adults.”

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.

CDC recommends testing all adult patients for hepatitis C.

Get Tested.

Get Cured.

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.

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