NVHR NEWSLETTER – December, 2014
Wishing You A Happy Holiday Season!

NVHR wishes you a very happy and healthy holiday season. 2014 has been a very exciting and productive year in the fight against viral hepatitis. Together, we have won many important victories that will increase access to hepatitis B and C testing, care, and treatment. We also have much more work to be done in 2015, particularly given the growing crisis in hepatitis C treatment access and the continued lack of federal funding to carry out hepatitis B and C services. We thank you for all you do to fight viral hepatitis and look forward to our work together next year.
Final Spending Bill Fails Viral Hepatitis

Congress has passed, and President Obama has signed, a final "CROmnibus" spending bill, which will fund federal programs through September 30, 2015. The bill provides only flat funding for viral hepatitis programs ($31 million), which are already highly underfunded. While the bill represents difficult negotiations in a challenging political and economic environment, flat funding for the hepatitis B and C epidemics is unacceptable and will keep us from mounting a true fight against the diseases. The bill also continues the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs which greatly harms efforts to prevent new hepatitis C infections among persons who inject drugs.

A significant increase in funding is needed to meet the goals of the federal government's Viral Hepatitis Action Plan and to establish and expand hepatitis B and C testing, linkage to care, education, and surveillance programs. The ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs must be overturned if we want to reduce new infections and work towards eradicating hepatitis C. NVHR will work with our partners and through our participation in the Hepatitis Appropriations Partnership (HAP) to advocate with the Obama Administration and Congress for funding levels that address the urgency of the viral hepatitis epidemic and an end to policies that harm public health efforts such as syringe exchange programs.

Slides and Recording: NVHR Webinar on CDC's Know More Hepatitis Campaign

On Wednesday, November 19, 2014, NVHR held a webinar featuring an update on the CDC's Know More Hepatitis campaign. Cynthia Jorgensen, DrPH, the Lead for Education, Training and Communication, CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis discussed ways to use these materials in your community to help get more Baby Boomers screened for hepatitis C. The slides and recording from the webinar are available on our program resource page. You are encouraged to send input on how you use these materials and what kind of materials you would like to see in the future from CDC. Send this feedback to Tina Broder, NVHR's Senior Program Manager, and she will forward to the CDC.

Victory in Michigan! Hep C Criminalization Bill Dies!

The highly problematic bill pending in the Michigan State Legislature that would criminalize nondisclosure of hepatitis C status to sexual partners died on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 when the House failed to take a vote on it. Thank you to all organizations that signed the national letter in support of efforts by Michigan advocates to defeat this harmful and stigmatizing legislation!

HHS Meeting on Hepatitis C Treatment Access
On December 9, 2014, a small group of advocates, including NVHR, met with many top officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to discuss the escalating crisis in hepatitis C treatment access and to urge the federal government to develop short and long term solutions that lead to access for all. The January 5, 2015 NVHR policy update call (2 pm Eastern) will provide a report from this meeting and what advocates are doing to follow up. Look for a separate announcement about this call.

New CDC Hepatitis B Radio PSAs

The CDC has announced the release of new "Know Hepatitis B" radio public service announcements. You are encouraged to ask your local radio stations to run these PSAs and educate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders about the impact of hepatitis B on their communities. You can download the PSAs here.

NVHR In Action

NVHR staff have been busy the past two months, participating in conferences, policy meetings, and lobby days to advance our hepatitis B and C priorities. In addition to the HHS meeting, Ryan Clary, NVHR's Executive Director, participated in the Women In Government's Health Care Summit and presented to over 50 state legislators about viral hepatitis public policy priorities. Ryan also presented on a panel at the Los Angeles Hepatitis C Summit about hepatitis C treatment access.Christine Rodriguez, NVHR's Public Policy Manager, attended a lobby day to advance the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) and participated in a meeting among viral hepatitis advocates and the Office of National AIDS Policy. Christine also participated in an advocacy meeting organized by the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

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