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Dear Colleague Letters

African American Hepatitis C Action Day


July 22, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

July 25th is the second annual National African American Hepatitis C Action Day (NAAHCA). In observance of this day, CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention is working closely with the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA). Together we are promoting this annual Action Day to help increase Hepatitis C awareness, testing among baby boomers, and access to treatment for individuals infected with the virus. Hepatitis C is a silent epidemic in the United States, with around 3 million Americans living with the disease; most unaware they are infected.

There are few important facts about Hepatitis C that we all need to know and share:

  • Hepatitis C is a serious disease and a leading cause of liver cancer.
  • More than 75% of adults with Hepatitis C are baby boomers (people born between 1945 and 1965). Baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected with Hepatitis C than other age groups.
  • Blacks have a higher risk of Hepatitis C virus than other groups.
  • Death related to the Hepatitis C virus is almost double the rate for black Americans compared with non-Hispanic white Americans.

Knowing these facts helps us take action that is focused, with clear goals. July 25th provides an opportunity to highlight our efforts to promote Hepatitis C prevention, testing, and treatment messages to public health partners and the general public. The day also provides a chance to discuss the importance of linkage to care and of integrating prevention opportunities, as many people at risk for acquiring hepatitis are often at risk for acquiring other infectious diseases such as HIV or STDs.

Numerous tools are available to help you promote and plan events. The NBLCA developed a toolkit and an events section that shows where Hepatitis C testing events are happening. An online Hepatitis Risk Assessment developed by the CDC is also available that allows individuals to privately answer questions about their hepatitis risk and tailors suggested recommendations based on CDC’s hepatitis guidelines. We encourage you to use and share the toolkit, events page, and the risk assessment tool as you plan your events for July 25th and throughout the year.

CDC is pleased to support this national Action Day and thanks each of you for your hard work toward preventing and controlling Hepatitis C.

Sincerely,

/Jonathan Mermin/
Jonathan H. Mermin, M.D., MPH
Director
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/nchhstp

/John Ward/
John Ward, MD
Director
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

 
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