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U.S. News

California: San Francisco Hep C Task Force Launched

January 26, 2010

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's recently established Hepatitis C Task Force will be holding a series of public meetings as it crafts recommendations. Some 12,000 people with hepatitis C virus live in San Francisco, and one HCTF aim is to identify local service providers and resources. Plans for boosting diagnoses and awareness of HCV are also part of its charge.

"The key is going to be public awareness and educating medical providers to ask questions and get people tested," said task force member Alan Franciscus of the Hepatitis C Support Project.

HCV is transmitted through blood, and reports in recent years have highlighted outbreaks among HIV-positive gay and bisexual men in the United States and Europe. Risk factors included fisting, rough sex, group sex, and nasal drug use. HCV is also easily passed from mother-to-child and through sharing drug injection needles and equipment.

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"Even I thought hep C was a disease associated with drug use," said Randy Allgaier, HCTF's co-chair. "I am very open about my AIDS, but when I was diagnosed as hep C positive I had a hard time telling people -- there was a great deal of stigma that I had to deal with."

The task force will work to devise recommendations for funding and a comprehensive, citywide HCV strategy. Members will assist prevention efforts and awareness campaigns. One of HCTF's first actions was to send letters to California's US Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Jackie Speier urging them to co-sponsor the "Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Control and Prevention Act of 2009."

"Our ambitious game plan is to have recommendations to the mayor by the end of 2010 and then continue to convene in 2011," Allgaier said. Public meetings are held on the second Monday of the month, with the next one set for Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at 25 Van Ness Ave., third-floor conference room.

Back to other news for January 2010

Adapted from:
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
01.21.2010; Liz Highleyman


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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