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 CDC updated the adult hepatitis B vaccination recommendations!
On Monday, May 23, 2-3:30pm EST the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) will host a webinar on the federal implementation of these new guidelines. As part of the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan, federal partners are working together to increase hepatitis B vaccination uptake in the United States. OIDP will be joined by a panel of federal leadership from across HHS to discuss how each agency plans to employ the new recommendations and encourage vaccination uptake.
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 May 16, 2022
Gaps in Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B Vaccination Among Hepatitis C Antibody-Positive Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
“Vaccination for both hepatitis A (HAV) and hepatitis B (HBV) is recommended in hepatitis C infection (HCV). Among HCV antibody-positive persons experiencing homelessness, we identified high rates of HAV (34%) and HBV vaccine (35%) eligibility, highlighting critical gaps in HCV preventative services. Following education, 54% and 72% underwent HAV and HBV vaccination, respectively.”
Closing Racial Gaps in Hepatitis C Screening and Treatment
“Hepatitis C is an inflammatory liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It’s passed via contact with blood from someone who already carries the virus. While hepatitis C is contagious and may not present any symptoms, it’s often treatable. Screening can identify the presence of HCV and can lead to life-saving treatment.”
CDC Gives New Information About Mysterious Hepatitis Cases in Children
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are continuing to investigate a mysterious outbreak of hepatitis in young children that has taken five lives so far in the U.S. The agency said in a recent telebriefing that they’re looking at 109 cases across 24 states and Puerto Rico. The U.K. Health Security Agency has reported at least 169 cases as of May 3.”
Missouri launching statewide effort to eliminate hepatitis C
“Missouri is kicking off a statewide effort to eliminate the most common blood-borne infection —hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that, left untreated, can lead to liver disease and cancer. According to CDC estimates, 2.4 million people in the U.S. are living with hepatitis C, and half of them may not know they’re infected.”
DOJ Complaint Flags HCV Drug Denials for People With Addiction
“A complaint filed with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that Alabama’s Medicaid program is illegally denying curative drug treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection to people with substance use disorder.”
5 Science-Backed Self-Care Tips for People with Hepatitis C
“Hepatitis C (hep C) can be a scary diagnosis at first, especially if you don’t know much about it. If you’re living with hep C, an infection impacting the liver that develops from the hepatitis C virus (HCV), there are treatment options and lots of ways to take care of yourself.”
Getting Social Support for Your Hepatitis C and Substance Use Disorder Recovery
“Society may often stigmatize hepatitis C infections from the hepatitis C virus because of the context of drug misuse and addiction that links them. This can place a lot of emotional stress on people living with hepatitis C and a substance use disorder.”
My Choices© Update
Week Ending May 16, 2022
How Nutrigenomics May Impact the Way You Eat
“Choosing what to eat and the steps you need take to achieve your health goals can be overwhelming. With so many diets out there and numerous experts who all have different opinions, how can you determine what’ll work for you? Nutrigenomics provides some clarity.”
6 Natural Antihistamines to Help With Allergies
“Antihistamines treat seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever. A lot of people take antihistamine medications, but some natural antihistamines are available, as well.”
Is Acupuncture Any Help for Depression?
“Acupuncture is what’s known as a complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapy that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body to stimulate the central nervous system.”
5 Ways To Make Your Nighttime Routine More Meaningful
“No matter your work schedule, you probably know how difficult it can be to maximize the remaining hours of the day. After you’ve done all of the necessary tasks like making dinner, picking up the house, or maybe getting in some evening movement, you’re left with little time to yourself. Yes, you could spend that time scrolling on your phone or watching television (and sometimes that’s exactly what we need), but other times you may crave something a bit more meaningful. “
Being Unable to Afford Healthy Food Can Raise Diabetes Risk
“Young adults who struggle to afford food face an increased risk of diabetes later in life, possibly due to the long-term effects of eating cheaper, less nutritious food.”
It’s Time to Reframe Chronic Pain
“Persistent headaches and back pain. Achy bones, especially feet and hands. Gnawing, cramping guts. Whole-body soreness. So many people live with various flavors of chronic pain, and often go months or years without finding relief.”
Alternative medical care still has its place. Here is why
“While Ayurveda can have positive effects when used as a complementary therapy in combination with standard, conventional medical care, it should not replace the latter, especially when treating serious conditions”
How To Harness The Power Of Your Dreams, From A Psychologist
“Every night when you sleep and dream, you’re gifted the opportunity to deepen your connection to your own psyche and the spirit world. I (and many cultures through time) believe that spirit speaks to us when we sleep, and if we listen closely enough, we’re guided in what action to take in our waking lives.”
A Harvard nutritionist and brain expert avoids these 5 types of foods that can make you ‘tired and stressed’
“While many conscientious eaters think constantly about the food we’re eating — how it will affect our hearts, the environment and most of all, our waistlines — we rarely think about its impact on our brains, mood and energy levels.”
Can meditation and mindfulness exercises reduce stress?
“Meditation is known to reduce blood pressure as well as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, according to studies evaluated by the National Institutes of Health. It may also ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and may help people with insomnia.”
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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.
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.
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.”
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.
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©
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.
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:
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-
Carolyn Wester, MD
Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis
National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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
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
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.
The White House
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.