World AIDS Day 2020, Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact
Learn more about self-testing for HIV.
See if you qualify for Ready, Set, PrEP.
Learn more about the importance of viral supression.
As we celebrate Black History Month, here at HHS we are also reminded of troubling hepatitis C disparities that persist in the African American community.
African Americans are twice as likely to be infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) compared to the general U.S. population, according to the CDC. While African Americans represent only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they make up roughly 22 percent of the estimated 3.2 million persons with chronic HCV infection. Moreover, chronic liver disease, often hepatitis C-related, is a leading cause of death among African Americans ages 45-64.
African Americans are twice as likely to be infected with HCV compared to the general U.S. population…too few African Americans know about the disease or get tested for it.
“Despite the seriousness of this health problem in the African American community, too few African Americans know about the disease or get tested for it. Early detection of chronic viral hepatitis infection can save lives,” observes Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, MD, MPH, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases and Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Many people can get care and treatment that can limit disease progression, prevent liver cancer deaths, and help break the cycle of unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.”
Agencies across the government are collaborating to implement the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis. The plan’s goals include increasing the proportion of Americans who are aware of their viral hepatitis infection and reducing the number of new cases of hepatitis C infection. To achieve these goals, the plan prioritizes education efforts to address viral hepatitis-related disparities.
We need your help to achieve these goals, reduce the disproportionate burden of hepatitis C, and increase awareness of this silent killer in the African American community.
The first step to reducing this disparity in the African American community is increasing awareness about hepatitis C:
Learn more here, “Viral Hepatitis in the African American Community” and from the CDC’s webpage, Hepatitis C in the African American Community.
We also need your help in educating your family and friends about hepatitis C. Share what you’ve learned and encourage conversations with healthcare providers about screening for hepatitis C for those who may have been exposed.
To support national efforts to raise awareness about this important health problem, a number of helpful resources and tools have been developed by colleagues across HHS. Please consider using these in your work or sharing them with your friends and family:
All of us can contribute to “combating the silent epidemic of viral hepatitis” among African Americans. Please join us.