July 28 Is World Hepatitis Day: Eliminate Hepatitis
July 28, 2017
July 28, 2017 is World Hepatitis Day, one of only four disease-specific days recognized by the World Health Organization. Around the world and around the United States organizations and individuals come together on this day to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence change.
Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year -- that's as many as HIV, tuberculosis or malaria. Together, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world.
In the United States, 850,000 to 2.2 million people are living with hepatitis B, and at least 3.5 million people are living with hepatitis C. Recent increases in hepatitis B and hepatitis C in the U.S. are associated with the opioid crisis and sharing of equipment for injection and, to a lesser extent, improved case detection.
Liver cancer is the only major cancer on the rise in the U.S. Hepatitis B and C drove the 28% increase in liver cancer in the U.S. between 2003-2012. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and the leading indication for liver transplants in the U.S. In 2013, hepatitis C-associated deaths exceeded the combined number of deaths with 60 other infectious diseases as underlying causes.
Despite these dire statistics, there is great hope. There is an effective vaccine and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can be eliminated. A recent report from the National Academy of Science lays a roadmap for achieving this goal by the year 2030.
Greater awareness and greater access to preventive services, testing, care, and treatment are urgently needed, as is political commitment at the federal, state, and local levels. This year's World Hepatitis Day theme is "Eliminate Hepatitis," and it provides an opportunity to highlight the serious impact hepatitis B and hepatitis C have around the globe and in the United States and to join in the call for action to prevent deaths and stem the tide of new infections.
Please consider raising the profile of viral hepatitis in your community. Here are some ways to get involved:
This article was provided by Project Inform. Visit Project Inform's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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