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FRIDAY, JULY 28 IS WORLD HEPATITIS DAY — FREE HEPATITIS C TESTS AT SKYLINE PARK IN DENVER

SAVE THE DATE

World Hepatitis Day July 28, 2017

DENVER — No-cost, no-appointment hepatitis C testing will be offered Friday, July 28 for people who may be at risk for the blood-borne virus which infects people of all walks of life but most especially baby boomers.
Most people who have chronic hepatitis C don’t know it. Of those, 75 percent were born between 1945-1965. Those ages 51-60 reported the highest number of chronic hepatitis C, based on the state’s Hepatitis C in Colorado 2015 Surveillance Report.
Liver Health Connection, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and other concerned groups are getting together for World Hepatitis Day from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Thursday, July 28, 2016, at Denver’s Skyline Park.
All are invited to recognize World Hepatitis Day and join in fun and games while learning about hepatitis in all its destructive forms. Viral hepatitis is one of the world’s most pressing health concerns.  The World Health Organization reports “hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) are the leading cause of liver cancer in the world, accounting for 78 percent of cases. Nearly one out of every three people in the world (approximately 2 billion) has been infected by HBV, and one in 12 live with chronic HBV or HCV infection.”
Last year the World Hepatitis Alliance, a division of the World Health Organization, launched NOhep 2030, a global movement to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. At the 2016 World Health Assembly, 194 Member States made an historic commitment to adopt a global strategic plan targeting viral hepatitis. Denver-based Liver Health Connection, one of the nation’s top hepatitis advocacy groups, is working closely with World Hepatitis Alliance to support NOhep 2030 in Colorado and throughout the United States.

When: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Friday, July 28, 2017
Where: Skyline Park at 16th Street & Arapahoe, Denver, CO

Helpful Viral Hepatitis Links:

Liver Health Connection
Homepage: http://liverhealthconnection.org
Hepatitis quick facts: http://www.liverhealthconnection.org/hepatitis-c
Colorado Department of Pulbic Health and Environment
Hepatitis information: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/hepatitis
Colorado data: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/hepatitis-data
World Hepatitis Alliance
NOhep 2030 official website: http://NOhep.org
World Hepatitis Alliance: http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/
WHO
Media Center: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs164/en/
TWITTER
@LiverConnection
#NOhep | #Hepatitis

 

New hepatitis C infections triple due to opioid epidemic

By Susan Scutti, CNN – Read more at CNN

New hepatitis C virus infections in the United States nearly tripled between the years 2010 and 2015.

The number of new nationally reported infections with the virus swelled from 850 in 2010 to 2,436 cases in 2015, with the highest rates among young people, mainly 20- to 29-year-olds, who inject drugs, according to a new report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the CDC estimates the true number is much higher– about 34,000 new infections nationally for 2015 since hepatitis C has few symptoms and most newly infected people do not get diagnosed.
. . .
Ward and his colleagues believe states can reduce the number of people risking a hepatitis C infection by adopting laws and policies that would increase access for IV drug users to services intended to prevent and treat the infection.
For the new report, then, Ward and his colleagues assessed state laws and Medicaid policies that impact IV drug users.
To decide whether a state had comprehensive needle laws, the CDC explored five questions: Did the state explicitly authorize a needle exchange program? Did the state exempt syringes from the definition of drug paraphernalia? Did the state decriminalize possession and distribution of needles for participants of needle exchange programs? Did the state permit a person to disclose possession of a needle to an arresting officer to avoid criminal prosecution? Finally, did the state allow the sale of needles, without prescriptions, to injected drug users?
With regard to Medicaid, the researchers looked at whether a state imposed sobriety requirements on drug users before approving treatment for an infection. Permissive Medicaid treatment policies, as defined by the CDC, would mean states either do not require a period of being sober or only require screening and counseling for a person to receive treatment.
. . .
Between 2009 and 2014, rates of hepatitis C virus infection among US women giving birth doubled, according to a second CDC study published Thursday.
“In 2014, 35 infants a day were exposed to the virus,” said Dr. Stephen W. Patrick, author of the study and assistant professor of pediatrics and health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He explained the risk of transmission from mother to infant is estimated to be just about 6%, but research suggests follow-up on infants is poor.
“My worry is that some infants will convert to having hepatitis C without anyone knowing, or treating the infant,” said Patrick.
. . .
With treatment for hepatitis C, there must also be counseling to get these patients into care for their addiction to avoid an “exercise in futility” by treating only “a consequence of the substance use disorder.” according to Chung.
Coordinated effort is needed to get patients plugged into care so they beat their addictions and avoid becoming reinfected with hepatitis C.
Yet there have been several studies performed on rates of reinfection among IV drug users and they range from about 10% to 20%, said Chung. The results are not yet “water-tight,” said Chung, but reinfection rates can be viewed from another angle: “Success can be had — and durable success can be had — in most of these patients.”

National Hepatitis Testing Day

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National Hepatitis C Testing  Day on May 19th

America’s 6th annual National Hepatitis Testing Day is an opportunity for people at-risk to be tested all throughout Colorado. Free blood screening tests will be offered and providers will have the opportunity to educate patients about chronic viral hepatitis and treatments.

Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C has been called a silent epidemic because most people with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected.

A wide variety of organizations will be making a collaborative effort to participate in the free testing from the Boulder County AIDS Project, the Western Colorado Health Network in Grand Junction to Denver Indian Health and Family Services.

 

Listed Below is the entire list of groups offering testing in Colorado.

Northern Colorado Aids Project

400 Remington St., #100 Fort Collins, Co

9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

DCAP

6260 East Colfax Avenue, Denver

Testing will be on a walk-in basis.

HeyDenver

1720 Pearl Street Denver

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

Jefferson County Public Health

654 Parfet Street, Lakewood

8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

Boulder County AIDS Project

2118 14th Street, Boulder

10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m.

 

Ecumenical Social Ministries (SCAP)

201 North Weber Street, Colorado Springs

9:00 a.m. to 11:30  May 18th

Call 719-578-9092 for more information

 

Southern Colorado Health Network

1301 South 8th Street, Ste 200, Colorado Springs

9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  May 18th and 19th

Appointment only-719-578-9092

 

Southern Colorado Health Network

807 North Greenwood Street, Ste 200, Pueblo

9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  May 16th, 17th, 18 and 19th

Call 719-621-1105 to make appointment

 

Western Colorado Health Network (WCAP)

2352 North 7th Street, Ste A1, Grand Junction

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

Denver Indian Health and Family Service

1633 Fillmore Street, Denver

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

Liver Health Connection

Wellington Webb Building, Main Floor

201 W Colfax Ave, Denver

9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Liver Health Connection en La Habana, Cuba

In early April, Liver Health Connection board member Dr. Marcelo Kugelmas organized a delegation of U.S. hepatologists to educate and learn from hepatologists and gastroenterologists in Cuba.  Pictured below are some of the attendees of the Hepatology and Liver Transplant Symposium in Havana, Cuba including doctors from the United States, Cuba and Spain as well as Liver Health Connection’s Executive Director Nancy Steinfurth.

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The U.S. hepatologists shared their expertise in liver transplantation, hepatitis C treatment, liver cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease among other topics.  Dr. Zobair Younossi from Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virgina is shown here sharing an overview of hepatitis C treatment in the United States.

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The Cuban doctors shared on their highly successful efforts to eradicate hepatitis B in the country.  More than 99% of newborn are vaccinated for hep B and in 2016 the whole Cuban population under 36 years of age was covered by the vaccination program. Part of the success in HBV elimination is a the extensive medical care that women receive during pregnancy – pictured here is an old bank converted into clinic for pregnant women who receive daily monitoring during the final weeks of pregnancy.

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As for hepatitis C prevention and treatment, the U.S. delegation was surprised to learn: 1) injection drug use is practically nonexistent in Cuba; and 2) pegelated interferon (which they produce in Cuba) is still the standard treatment for hep C on the island.  Based on these two facts alone, it’s obvious the both countries can benefit from ongoing communication with each other about viral hepatitis.

The trip of course was not all shop talk.  The delegation had the opportunity to see the country such as the Univeridad de Habana pictured here . . .Cuba4

. . . and the Habor de Habana seen here.

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How the Affordable Care Act Helps People with Hepatitis B and C

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How the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Helps People with Hepatitis B and C

Preventive services
Under the ACA, all new health plans and Medicaid expansion programs must offer free preventive services, including hepatitis B vaccination and hepatitis B and C testing. These services are essential to prevent new infections and link individuals to lifesaving care and treatment. The ACA also created the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which has improved access to the hepatitis B vaccine.
Expanded coverage for communities disproportionately affected by hepatitis C
African Americans have higher rates of hepatitis C than other ethnic groups. Since the ACA’s enactment, the uninsured rate has declined 59% for African Americans. The uninsured rate for veterans, who also have higher rates of hepatitis C, has dropped 42%. Because the ACA permanently authorized funds for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, more Native Americans have gained coverage. The ACA has also expanded health coverage for an estimated 4.2 million Latino adults and 676,000 Latino children. Expanded coverage for these populations is crucial to eliminating hepatitis C.
Pre-existing conditions
The ACA prohibits private insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. Before the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions like hepatitis B or C were often automatically denied coverage. The ACA’s protection of people with pre-existing conditions ensures that people with hepatitis B or C can be tested and treated.

No annual or lifetime limits
The ACA’s elimination of lifetime or annual limits on the amount of insurance available has enabled persons with viral hepatitis to successfully treat and manage their disease, saving lives and helping to stop new infections.

Expanded Medicaid eligibility
The ACA allows states to expand Medicaid to cover people with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, including single adults without children. In states with the Medicaid expansion, viral hepatitis prevention and care are now more accessible to low-income persons.

More affordable coverage
Under the ACA, the federal government provides financial assistance to many low-income people who obtain coverage through their state’s marketplace. Low-income people with hepatitis B or C need this assistance to receive core services.
Equal coverage for substance use disorders
The ACA requires insurers to offer equal coverage for substance use treatment. People who contracted viral hepatitis from opioid overuse can get treatment for their addiction as they would for any other medical condition.

New Community Outreach Coordinator at Liver Health Connection

RicaRodriguezLiver Health Connection would like to welcome Rica Rodriguez as our new Community Outreach Coordinator!

Rica Rodriguez was born in Amarillo Texas and was raised the majority of her life all over the state of Colorado. She has worked for nearly ten years primarily in the case management field working with individuals from all lifestyles whom struggle from health disparities such as HIV/AIDS, mental health disorders, HIV/HCV co-infected, substance abusers and the homeless populations

Rica has a passion for working with underserved populations and she has the ability to relate to many of their situations, barriers and stigma that these individuals encounter on a daily basis.

Rica has a strong belief that one person’s experience can help in the process of assisting others to overcome obstacles and empower themselves. She comes to Liver Health Connection with a wealth of experience in networking, community outreach, testing and relationship building.

Before coming to Liver Health Connection, Rica has been employed with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, the Empowerment Program, Aurora Mental Health Center, Rocky Mountain CARES and the Women’s Lighthouse Project.  This experience and her knowledge make Rica a wonderful addition to the Liver Health Connection team.

Legislature Lunch&Learn

 

On Monday March 6th, Liver Health Connection, member of the Chronic Care Collaborative hosted a lunch&learn to discuss,”How to Prevent Liver Cancer in Four Easy Steps.” Activities included free box lunch for all attendees and free HCV antibody testing.

 

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Robert McGoey and Karen Chappelow set up for the HCV antibody testing.

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Nancy Steinfurth, Robert McGoey and Nicole Silva at the Colorado State Capitol.

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Executive Director of Liver Health Connection, Nancy Steinfurth.

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Nancy speaking about ways to safeguard your health from liver damage to legislative aides.

Colorado VA’s Rural Hepatitis Telemedicine Program

The Veterans Administration (VA) has initiated an ambitious program to provide hepatitis C (HCV) treatment to all veterans with the virus.  The VA is treating all veterans with HCV regardless of fibrosis score or other criteria.

Becky Ashcraft, Nurse Coordinator for the Colorado VA’s Rural Hepatitis Telemedicine Program, recently presented some of the progress that they’ve been making to ensure that Colorado veterans who live in rural areas can receive treatment for hepatitis C.

We’d like to share just a little bit from her presentation highlighting the work that they Program are doing. The Rural Hepatitis Telemedicine Program is working to bring HCV treatment to rural areas of Colorado by using technology to help patients receive specialist care in rural areas.

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This slide shows the uptick in patients being treated by the programs during 2016.  Increased VA funding for HCV treatment has led to a substantial increase in the number of veterans being treated.

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Patient compliance with the treatment regimen – which usually involves taking a pill once a day for 12 weeks – has been around 95%.  Patients receive medication through the mail and have appointments at one of several clinics throughout the state.

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Sustained Virological Response (SVR) means that a there is no detection of HCV in a patient 12 weeks after completing treatment.  SVR is how we know someone has been cured of HCV.  The Rural Hepatitis Telemedicine Program helped 73 patients achieve SVR in 2016.  For only a handful of patients, treatment was unsuccessful.

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This final slide show why it’s so important that more veterans are being treated.  Veterans have higher rates of HCV than the general population, especially veterans who are baby boomers.  The data above shows reductions in mortality and liver cancer for veterans who have been cured of HCV compared to veterans who still have the virus.  Because Direct-Acting Antiviral (DAAs) treaments for HCV are still so new, the data above is of patients who underwent successful treatment using interferon-based therapy – a treatment that was less effective and had far more complications than new DAAs.  As  more veterans get treated, we can anticipate even greater reductions in the number of liver transplants, rates of liver cancer and overall mortality.

2017 Chronic Disease Legislator Lunch&Learn

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You’re invited!

“How to Prevent Liver Cancer in Four Easy Steps”

The 2017 Chronic Disease Legislator Lunch & Learn on Monday, March 6th!

Please join Liver Health Connection, a member of the Chronic Care Collaborative, for a free box lunch on Monday, March 6th at the Colorado State Capitol to discuss ways to safeguard your health from liver cancer.

Liver cancer is on the rise – 72% in a decade. Undiagnosed hepatitis C is the primary reason for this increase in liver cancer. Free HCV antibody testing will be provided with results in 20 minutes to baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965.)

Activities take place at the Colorado State Capitol in House Committee Rooms 109 and 111.  We will begin at noon until 1:15pm.

We hope to see you there!

 

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Denver State Capital