Florida Support for Federal Hepatitis C Bill

Dear Florida Senators and Congressmen: The undersigned organizations and individuals from Florida respectfully ask for you to co-sponsor the Hepatitis C Epidemic Control and Prevention Act [SB 1445 / HR 2552]. This vital legislation amends the Public Health Service Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish, promote, and support a comprehensive prevention, research, and treatment program for hepatitis C virus infection. Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne chronic viral infection in the United States. Once exposed, most individuals remain persistently infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), with 70% developing chronic liver disease and its often life-threatening conditions. At least 4,000,000 Americans currently have chronic hepatitis C, with 25,000 new infections occurring every year. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the death rate from HCV-related liver disease will triple by the year 2019. No other disease burden is expected to increase as rapidly as that of hepatitis C in the coming decade. Disease-specific interventions are needed immediately. The Hepatitis C Epidemic Control and Prevention Act directly addresses these critical unmet needs through: · Education and Training implement a program to heighten awareness and enhance knowledge and understanding of hepatitis B and C. · Medical Management ensure that HCV-positive persons identified through HCV counseling and testing programs have access to medical evaluation and management, including currently recommended antiviral therapy when appropriate. · Hepatitis C Disease Control promote and support state and local HCV counseling, treatment, testing and prevention programs. · Immunization promote and support state and local programs to vaccinate HCV infected persons, or at risk of infection, against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. · Hepatitis C Coordinators support provision of Hepatitis C Coordinators to each state and large metropolitan health department to provide the additional management, networking, and technical expertise needed. · Underserved and Disproportionately Affected Populations promote expanded support for persons with limited access to health education, testing and health care services and groups that may be disproportionately affected by HCV. We urge you to make hepatitis C a public health priority and ask that you show leadership by co-sponsoring the Hepatitis C Epidemic Control and Prevention Act (SB 1445 / HR 2552) in the 110th Congress Sincerely,

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