Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Viral Hepatitis Federal Implementation Plan (PDF, 1.2 MB) outlining federal partners’ commitments to eliminating the public health threat of viral hepatitis in the United States by 2030.
This plan summarizes the policies, research, and activities that federal partners intend to put into practice through 2025 to meet the goals of the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan for the United States: A Roadmap to Elimination 2021-2025 (VHNSP). The Strategic Plan was released in January 2021 and provides a framework to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. These actions are intended to guide federal and non-federal stakeholders as they develop policies and plan their programs in support of the elimination of viral hepatitis.
The new Viral Hepatitis Federal Implementation Plan is an important step in government-wide efforts to address the syndemic of HIV, viral hepatitis, STIs, substance use, and mental health disorders. A syndemic is two or more health conditions that adversely interact with one another and contribute to an excess burden of disease in a population. Social and structural factors create the conditions for clustering of these health conditions. Both the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the VHNSP underscore the need for syndemic approaches in our local, state, tribal, regional, and national responses to HIV and viral hepatitis. Both the Strategy and the Strategic Plan call for multidisciplinary actions at the local, state, and federal levels that, where possible, integrate services, braid funding, address health inequities and related social determinants of health, and encourage innovative approaches to prevention, testing, care and treatment for HIV, viral hepatitis, substance use, and mental health disorders. A federal implementation plan is under development for the NHAS and will be published this summer.