HEPATITIS C A CRISIS IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY

National Medical Association: 10/1/13

Findings and Recommendations

In 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention turned the public health community’s attention to the impending threat of hepatitis C (HCV) and the urgent need to engage in HCV risk-based screening as a first step in protecting the nation from its risks.1 With the 2000 publication of the Institute of Medicine’s Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C,2 the public health community acknowledged the emergence of yet another infectious disease that was leading to disability and early mortality among Americans. In May 2011, with the release of the Department of Health and Human Resources report, Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C,3 the nation formally declared war against a virus whose asymptomatic status exponentially increases the potentiality for severe morbidity and early mortality. More recently, the June 20134 release of the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force’s Screening for Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adults: Recommendation Statement endorsed the CDC’s recommendation that persons born between 1945 and 1965 be provided one time HCV cohort-based screening. As a result, a new tool was added to the arsenal of practices that can be used to address this disease. Read More