Viral Hepatitis Monthly Newsletter

ISSUE NUMBER Seven • April 2014

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Hepatitis Training

The Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator is available to conduct Hepatitis Educational Trainings throughout the state. These trainings are conducted on an as needed basis, so please contact Brittany Gross at bgross@isdh.in..gov or 317-233-7627 to discuss your training needs.   

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Spotlight On...

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Releases 2014-2016 Viral Hepatitis Action Plan

On Thursday, April 3, 2014 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Released the 2014-2016 Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.   This is a renewal of the previous action plan and is aimed at achieving four main goals: 

  • Increase the proportion of persons who are aware of their HBV infection from 33 percent to 66 percent,
  • Increase the proportion of persons who are aware of their HCV infection from 45 percent to 66 percent,
  • Reduce the number of new cases of HCV infection by 25 percent, and
  • Eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HBV.

The Viral Hepatitis Action Plan provides a framework and focus that allows stakeholders to engage in strengthening the nation’s response to viral hepatitis and seeks to leverage opportunities to improve the coordination of viral hepatitis activities across programs and with the efforts of the wide variety of stakeholders. The Action Plan also supports the public health and primary care infrastructures needed for viral hepatitis prevention, care, and treatment at the federal, state, and local levels. To access the action plan, click on the following link, http://1.usa.gov/1fXAjJf 

Hepatitis C Screening and Medicare   

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has recently proposed that hepatitis C testing should be covered for all individuals in the program at high-risk of infection and one-time testing of everyone born between 1945 and 1965. A final ruling is expected in June. This proposal is the result of all public comments submitted in 2013 encouraging Medicare to cover hepatitis C testing. Another public comment period closed April 3, 2014. These public comment periods offered an opportunity to support this draft proposal and to urge Medicare to start educating medical providers and Medicare beneficiaries about the importance of hepatitis C testing.  To read the actual proposed memo, go to http://go.cms.gov/OlQRjn. More information will follow, as available. 

Immunization Action Coalition Enrolls Indiana Birthing Institution into its Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll! 

Another Indiana facility has made the Honor Roll: Columbus Regional Hospital, Columbus, Ind. 

The Honor Roll is a key part of the Immunization Action Coalition’s (IAC) major initiative urging the nation’s hospitals to Give birth to the end of Hep B. Hospitals and birthing centers are recognized for attaining high coverage rates for administering hepatitis B vaccine at birth and meeting specific additional criteria. The initiative urges qualifying healthcare organizations to apply for the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll online.

To be included in the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll, a birthing institution must have: (1) reported a coverage rate of 90 percent or greater, over a 12-month period, for administering hepatitis B vaccine before hospital discharge to all newborns, including those whose parents refuse vaccination, and (2) implemented specific written policies, procedures, and protocols to protect all newborns from hepatitis B virus infection prior to hospital discharge.

Honorees are also awarded an 8.5" x 11" color certificate suitable for framing and their acceptance is announced in IAC Express which has approximately 50,000 readers.

Please visit the new Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll web page that lists these institutions and their exceptional efforts to protect infants from perinatal hepatitis B transmission. 

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Hepatitis Resources

Hepatitis C Online-Medications to Treat HCV

A new section covering medications to treat hepatitis C is now available through Hepatitis C Online, a self-study, interactive course for medical providers on hepatitis C.  This course was developed by the University of Washington in collaboration with the International Antiviral Society-USA and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Free CME and CNE credits are available.  For more information, visit
http://hepatitisc.uw.edu/page/treatment/drugs

HCV Advocate Website

Hcvadvocate.org is a website supported by the Hepatitis C Support Project and includes many free resources for anyone to utilize.  The website has links to fact sheets and news articles and educational materials.  Check out the website by clicking here.

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)

The IAC has many free handouts and facts sheets about hepatitis and many are available in multiple languages.  Check out their website at http://www.immunize.org/. 

A few handouts that are available…

o    Hepatitis B Facts: Testing and Vaccination http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2110.pdf

o    If you, your parents, or your children were born in any of these places…http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4170.pdf 

o    Hepatitis B information for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4190.pdf

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Viral Hepatitis Updates & News

Fewer Americans are Living with Hepatitis C Because More have Died

The number of Americans who are infected with hepatitis C is falling, but that’s probably because more people who have been sickened by the virus are dying as a result, government researchers reported Monday.

After analyzing data from thousands of people who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about 1 percent of the population over age 5 have hepatitis C. If so, that would translate to 2.68 million people with the virus, known as HCV.

To read the complete article, please click here

How a Simple Test Can Save 12,000 Lives

Hepatitis C, the "silent epidemic" afflicting baby boomers, is twice as prevalent among African-Americans, but preventive measures may save $2.5 billion in health care costs. The Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention  recommneds testing the baby-boomer generation for hepatitis C—people born from 1945 to 1965—because those individuals were young adults before this virus was identified in 1989 and before prevention measures were implemented. They may have been exposed to hepatitis through blood transfusions, exposures in the health care settings, or through drug use, or other exposures.

By getting more people tested and aware of their infection status, and, if they're infected, directed to proper treatment, lives can be saved and health care costs reduced.  To read the full article, please click here.

Highlights from the 2014 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) 

Hepatitis Treatments:

Three new treatment options (simeprevir, faldaprevir and sofosbuvir plus ribavirin) for hepatitis C virus (HCV)/HIV co-infected individuals each demonstrated a 75-79 percent cure rate for HCV.   

AbbVie announced that the first interferon-and ribavirin-free combination will be available by the end of 2014 for mono-infected genotype 1b HCV infected individuals.  This combination has a 99 percent cure rate.  Gilead Sciences submitted its request in November 2013 for FDA approval of a combination pill of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir, which is interferon-free, but not completely ribavirin-free. Ledipasvir is still under clinical review as a possible stand-alone medication.  

Gilead Sciences demonstrated in a pilot study of a combination pill of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir, along with GS-9669 or GS-9451, that it cured 95-100 percent of individuals with genotype 1 in six weeks.  These combinations are both interferon- and ribavirin-free.  Further clinical trials are needed for this treatment to proceed.

*Please note that the above information is for informational purposes only and does not represent an endorsement of these drugs or companies.

Neither Fame nor Fortune Protects Against Hepatitis C 

Healthcare education campaigns have made great progress in increasing the public’s awareness of hepatitis C, but there is still a long way to go. Even though hepatitis C affects people of all ages, races and socioeconomic levels, a derogatory stigma is frequently still associated with this common, infectious, liver virus. However, plenty of prominent celebrities have contracted the illness.

Hepatitis C affects people from all walks of life. Confirming this illness spares nobody, check out a list of people you might recognize, who have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, click here.  

IN THIS ISSUE

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UPCOMING EVENTS

HIV nPEP and Hepatitis for SANE Clinicians, presented by MATEC 

Where: Tabernacle Presbyterian Church 418 E 34th St  (34th and Central)Indianapolis, IN 46205

Date: Monday, April 24, 2014

Time: 12:00 p..m. to 1:00 p.m. 

To register please click here 

2014 HIV/STD Update: Advances in Care and Prevention, presented by MATEC

Where: IUPUI Campus Center
420 University Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Date: Friday, May 9, 2014

Time: 7:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m..

For more information, please click here.

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May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month! 

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on hepattiis at, http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/ 

 

HCVadvocate.org is coming to Indiana

Lucinda Porter of HCVadvocate.org will be in Indianapolis to conduct an HCV Training Workshop on May 16, 2014.  More details will be forthcoming, so stay tuned!