Viral hepatitis, mainly HAV, HBV and HCV are serious and growing threats to the health of Americans, including New Yorkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, 860,000 people are living with HBV, 2.4 million people are living with HCV, and almost 25,000 cases of HAV were reported in 2018.(1) New York State (NYS), outside of New York City, has one of the highest burdens related to viral hepatitis in the country. In 2018, NYS had the second highest case count of chronic HBV in the country and is among the five states with highest case counts for chronic HCV in the nation with approximately 8,000 cases.(2)
Viral hepatitis infections, HBV and HCV in particular, increase individuals’ risk of liver disease and cancer, increasing the cost of health care and death rates. Additionally, of concern is the increase of new infections of HCV among women of childbearing age, persons experiencing homelessness, and that can be linked to injection drug use and the growing opioid epidemic across our nation. HAV and HBV are vaccine preventable diseases, and the approval of direct acting antiviral therapies has made eliminating HCV a possibility. However, many people with HBV and HCV are unaware they are infected. To address these issues, complete diagnostic testing, vaccination when available, appropriate linkage to care and treatment by addressing gaps in care cascades and addressing appropriately social determinants of health for these individuals is critical to reduce the impact viral hepatitis have on New Yorkers.
This is a joint application between the NYS Department of Health (DOH) Division of Epidemiology, HBV and HCV Surveillance Program, whose responsibility is viral hepatitis surveillance activities and policy development, and the AIDS Institute, Bureau of Hepatitis Health Care, whose responsibilities include HCV prevention, care, treatment and policy-related activities. Both programs work collaboratively to prevent new viral hepatitis infections, limit morbidity and mortality, and to eliminate HCV in NYS. Under CDC- RFA-PS21-2103, NYSDOH is requesting $951,049 ($491,308 for Component 1 and $459,741 for Component 2). Interventions under Component 1, include a) developing plans, processes, data systems and policy interventions for viral hepatitis -HAV, HBV, and HCV- early outbreak detection and outbreak response; b) improve data collection systems, data quality and completeness, enhance surveillance capacity, including improving laboratory reporting and case investigation, to characterize trends, disease burden, and inform public health interventions for HAV, acute and chronic HBV, acute and chronic HCV, and perinatal HCV. All interventions will be aimed at the population level with a focus on persons under 45 years of age, women in childbearing age, and persons who inject drugs (PWID). For component 2, the target population is PWID and the high impact settings are syringe service programs (SSPs), substance use treatment programs and correctional facilities. The goals are 1) increase HCV testing across substance use treatment programs; 2) increase awareness of HCV status among PWID; 3) increase referral for HCV treatment among PWID diagnosed with HCV; and 4) increase hepatitis A and B vaccine among PWID. These goals will be achieved by developing a data-to-care model using existing data sources, including the HCV surveillance data and additional data from high impact settings; and by increasing SSP capacity to administer hepatitis A and B vaccinations.
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm
(2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/statistics/2018surveillance/pdfs/2018HepSurveillanceRpt.pdf