Growing Momentum to Address Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B affects up to two million Americans – yet the disease is often overlooked and largely underdiagnosed. Today, however, there is a growing momentum across the country to address this serious public health challenge. Political leaders are working to increase funding for hepatitis B screening, prevention and treatment, and national and local media are highlighting the impact of hepatitis B, particularly among Asian American communities.
A landmark report published by the Institute of Medicine in January 2010 recommended new policy, legislative, community and medical efforts to confront and control hepatitis B. In May 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released an action plan based on these recommendations, with a focus on addressing hepatitis B among Asian Americans.
Additionally, in November 2011 new legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate calling for increased screening for viral hepatitis, with a focus on Asian Americans and other disproportionately impacted groups. The legislation is currently under review in Congress.
Hep B United Philadelphia is a public awareness and education campaign that is being launched to address the growing severity of hepatitis B and liver cancer in the U.S. It is based on the enormously successful San Francisco Hep B Free campaign. The primary goals of the Philadelphia campaign include the following:
- Raise the public profile of hepatitis B and liver cancer as an urgent health priority
- Increase hepatitis B testing and vaccination rates, particularly among at-risk populations
- Involve and mobilize stakeholders and policy decision-makers to improve access to care for both the prevention and treatment of hepatitis B and liver cancer
To achieve these goals, Hep B United Philadelphia will establish partnerships to develop multiple levels of engagement and activities to ensure that this is truly a city-wide, community-owned campaign to improve the health and wellness of all Philadelphians!