Hepatitis Awareness Month: Recognizing the Syndemic of Viral Hepatitis, HIV, STIs, and Substance Use Disorder

Content From: HIV.govPublished: May 03, 20233 min read



May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness that viral hepatitis continues to be a major public health threat in the United States. While we bring attention to viral hepatitis this month, we also recognize that the epidemic of viral hepatitis does not occur in a vacuum, but interacts with other diseases like HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and substance use disorders, also known as a syndemic.

A syndemic is the clustering and interaction of two or more diseases, impacted by social and structural determinants of health (SDOH), that leads to excess burden of disease in a population. As an example, people with HIV have a higher risk for viral hepatitis and worse health outcomes than people without HIV. Therefore, those impacted by any part of the syndemic need to be made aware of and have access to the different prevention and treatment tools for viral hepatitis, including hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations, hepatitis B and hepatitis C screening, and hepatitis B and hepatitis C treatment.

The Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan 2021-2025 (PDF, 1.68MB) and National HIV/AIDS Strategy 2022-2025 (PDF, 1.76MB) both recommend a syndemic approach that is, a no-wrong-door-approach to healthcare services for viral hepatitis and HIV. When people get tested for HIV, they should also be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and STIs. When people are treated for substance use, they should be screened for HIV, viral hepatitis, STIs and connected to appropriate services.

Below is information about new viral hepatitis resources.

New OIDP Resource on Payment and Reimbursement Models for Integrated Hepatitis C Services

The Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) is working on removing barriers to achieving a syndemic approach by evaluating payment models integrating viral hepatitis services into clinical and non-clinical settings. OIDP recently released a document that presents an overview of preliminary findings that may inform final recommendations for financing models and/or policies that support integrated viral hepatitis service provision.

Read Payment and Reimbursement Models for Integrated Hepatitis C Services (PDF, 321KB).

New CDC Hepatitis C Treatment Locator Widget

The CDC recently released the Hepatitis C Treatment Locator Widget, making it more accessible for patients to find healthcare providers and organizations that offer hepatitis C treatment.

Webinar: Federal Implementation of Updated Viral Hepatitis Screening and Vaccination Recommendations

On Tuesday, May 30, from 1:00–2:30pm EST, OIDP will host a webinar on the federal implementation of CDC’s recently updated hepatitis B screening and testing recommendations. OIDP will be joined by a panel of federal leadership from across HHS to discuss how each agency plans to implement the recommendations, as well as share lessons learned and integration with universal hepatitis C screening recommendations and universal hepatitis B vaccination recommendations.

Register for the webinar hereExit Disclaimer.

Speakers will include representatives from:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Health Resources & Services Administration
  • Indian Health Service

This Hepatitis Awareness Month, we invite you to join HIV.gov in raising awareness about viral hepatitis—one important piece of a larger syndemic.