Institute of Medicine Report Concludes Current Approach to Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C is Not Working in the U.S.

Hepatitis B Foundation Calls for Increased Federal Funding to Improve the Lives of More than 5 Million Americans Suffering from Chronic Hepatitis B and C Infections.

Doylestown, PA - The highly anticipated report, Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C," was released today by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. Results of IOM reports have been relied upon since 1970 to provide policy-makers with objective, scientifically sound advice.

An expert committee convened by the IOM spent the past18 months evaluating current prevention and control activities for hepatitis B and C in the U.S. with the goal of determining ways to reduce the incidence of new infections and serious illnesses and deaths from chronic infections, which afflict more than 5 million Americans.

The IOM report concludes that, "The current approach to the prevention and control of hepatitis B and C is not working. Unless action is taken ? thousands of more Americans will die each year from liver cancer or liver disease related to these preventable diseases."

Viral hepatitis affects three to five times as many Americans as HIV/AIDS, yet gaps in resources and efforts directed at hepatitis B and C have contributed to stalled rates of decline of these diseases in the U.S. Hepatitis B and C are caused by viruses that attack the liver and cause chronic infections that increase the risk of premature death from end-stage liver disease or liver cancer. Both infections are entirely preventable; however, chronic hepatitis B and C infections will result in more than 150,000 deaths in the next 10 years unless new measures are taken to prevent and better control these diseases.

"There is a profound lack of awareness about the importance of the problem of chronic viral hepatitis in the U.S. and what can be done to prevent and treat these diseases," says Dr. Timothy Block, president of the Hepatitis B Foundation. "As a result, there have been woefully inadequate federal resources provided to address the continued frequency of new infections and the needs of millions of Americans suffering from chronic hepatitis B and C infections."

The IOM report emphasizes that hepatitis B and C must be made public health priorities and that increased federal and state resources are urgently needed. With 22 specific recommendations outlining steps to improve surveillance, raise public and provider awareness, strengthen HBV vaccination programs, and integrate viral hepatitis services to ensure identification of new infections and linkage to care, the barriers to the prevention and control of hepatitis can be fixed. The full report is available at

"The time is now to increase federal investment in the prevention and control of chronic hepatitis infections which are the primary cause of the rising incidence of liver cancer in the U.S.," says Block. "The conclusions of this IOM report are a wake-up call to the nation that more must be done in order to save thousands of American lives in this new decade."

Sponsors of this first ever IOM report on Hepatitis and Liver Cancer include the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable. The report strongly supports the new bipartisan legislation in Congress - H.R. 3974 -that calls for increased federal funds to provide better surveillance, screening, education and referral to medical management for hepatitis B and C.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation
The Hepatitis B Foundation is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected with hepatitis B worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy.

For more information, please visit or call (215) 489-4900.


Contact Details

Company Name: Hepatitis B Foundation
Issued By: Jill Aquino
Phone: 215-489-4900
Zip: 18902
Website: Visit the website

by Jill Aquino (few years ago!)

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