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Dear colleagues:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today released a report on the elimination of hepatitis B and C as a public health concern in the United States.

This report follows the Academies’ 2016 report, Eliminating the Public Health Problem of Hepatitis B and C in the United States: Phase One Report, in which an expert panel found that despite significant challenges, elimination of hepatitis B and C as a US public health problem is feasible. Today’s report by the same committee discusses ways to reduce the barriers and provides a national elimination strategy.

Organized in the same way as the WHO global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis, the report makes recommendations across the areas of information, interventions, service delivery, financing, and research.

As a reviewer of the report, I was pleased to see that the panel’s recommendations were aligned with AASLD’s positions on several key issues. The panel recommends:

  • Making elimination of HBV and HCV a priority in the US.
  • A central coordinating office at the highest level of the federal government.
  • Support for cross-sectional and cohort studies to better understand disease incidence and prevalence.
  • Expanded access to testing, adult HBV vaccination, and preventive measures such as syringe exchange.
  • Making direct-acting antivirals available to all chronic HCV patients through public and private health plans and including neglected populations such as Medicaid, the Indian Health Service, and prisons.
  • Building capacity to treat HCV and HBV in primary care.
  • Increasing funding for developing a cure for HBV, a vaccine for HCV, and reducing the incidence of HCC.

I encourage you to read the full report and to share this information with colleagues via social media, using the hashtag #HepatitisElimination.

Anna S. Lok, MD, FAASLD
AASLD President