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Call your Representative Today to Sign Letter in Support of Increased Viral Hepatitis Prevention Funding

TAKE ACTION

Call your Member in the House of Representatives to Sign Letter In Support of Increased

Viral Hepatitis Prevention Funding

Deadline: February 5

 

Background

Representatives Hank Johnson (GA), who has recently gone public with his hepatitis C status, and Charlie Dent (PA) have sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to every Member of the House asking them to sign onto a letter to the House Appropriations Committee in support of increased funding for the viral hepatitis prevention program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The more Members of the House that sign on to the letter, the better chance viral hepatitis will receive increased funding.  A copy of the letter is attached and below.

Action

Congressional staff have told us that any increase hinges upon Members of Congress hearing directly from constituents now on why increased funding is needed.

It is urgent that your calls be made immediately. Please call your Representative’s Washington, DC office.  Ask to speak to the staff person who handles health issues.  You can call your Representative at 202.225.3121. You will get the Capitol switchboard.  Ask to be connected to your Representative’s office.  If you don’t know who your Representative is, you can go online to www.house.gov to determine your Member of Congress.

Whether you speak to this person directly or leave a message, tell them:

“My name is _________________ and I’m a constituent of Representative____________. I am calling to urge Representative______________to sign on to a Dear Colleague funding letter supporting increased funding for viral hepatitis prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The funding letter is being circulated by Reps. Hank Johnson and Charlie Dent.  Hepatitis B and C affect over 5 million Americans and is the leading cause of liver cancer, one of the most deadly, expensive, and fastest growing killers of Americans every year, and the leading cause of liver transplants each year.  Money for prevention of hepatitis B and C is critical to providing a public health response like we have for other infectious diseases.  This includes public education, counseling, testing, and referral into care.  This is important to me personally because________”

If you have any questions, please contact Colin Schwartz or Ryan Clary.

Thanks for taking the time to make these important phone calls!

Colin

Colin Schwartz, Associate, Viral Hepatitis/Government Relations
National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors
444 North Capitol Street NW, Suite 339
Washington, DC  20001
Phone: (202) 434-8005 Fax:  (202) 434-8092
cschwartz@NASTAD.org        www.NASTAD.org

"Bridging Science, Policy, and Public Health"

From: e-Dear Colleague
Subject: Appropriations: Dear Colleague: Support Increased Funding for Viral Hepatitis Prevention Program

--------------------------------------

Support Increased Funding for Viral Hepatitis Prevention Program

Deadline Friday, February 5, 2010

 

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in urging strong support for the viral hepatitis prevention program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Fiscal Year 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill.  The attached letter supports increased funding for core prevention services that include hepatitis B and C education, counseling, testing, and referral to care, in addition to delivery of hepatitis A and B vaccines, and establishing a national surveillance system for chronic hepatitis B and C. This increase in funding is critical in developing the comprehensive viral hepatitis program required to prevent new infections and control the spiraling costs of chronic infections.

Nearly 5.3 million Americans are infected with chronic hepatitis B and C and most of them do not know it.  Hepatitis B and C silently attack the liver and are a leading cause of liver cancer: one of the most lethal, expensive and fastest growing cancers in America.  In 2007 alone, the CDC estimated that 43,000 Americans were newly infected with hepatitis B and 17,000 with hepatitis C, and the diseases combined cause at least 15,000 deaths each year.  It is also a leading cause of death in persons living with HIV.  Nearly 25 percent of HIV-positive Americans are co-infected with hepatitis C and nearly 10 percent with hepatitis B.

In FY2010, the Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) at CDC received only $19.3 million: the only dedicated federal funding to address viral hepatitis.  States receive an average award of approximately $90,000 per state for the Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator program.  This funding does not allow for the provision of core prevention services.  Counseling, testing and linkages to care are essential to identify the two-thirds of Americans that are infected with viral hepatitis who don’t know it and allow them to take steps to prevent further infections and get care to stem the progression of liver disease.

Please join us in requesting $50 million for viral hepatitis prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We need you to not only sign this letter but to make a request for DVH funding as part of your FY2011 program requests submitted to the Labor-HHS-Education Committee. If you would like to sign the letter, or have any questions, please contact either Scott Goldstein at scott.goldstein@mail.house.gov or 5-1605 (Rep. Johnson) or Laura Stevens Kent at laura.stevens@mail.house.gov or 5-6411 (Rep. Dent).

Sincerely,

Hank Johnson
Member of Congress

CharlieDent
Member of Congress

-----------------------------------

The Honorable David R. Obey
Chairman
Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education
House Appropriations Committee
2358-8 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Todd Tiahrt
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education
House Appropriations Committee
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

SUBJECT:  FY2011 CDC Viral Hepatitis Prevention Program Funding

Dear Chairman Obey and Ranking Member Tiahrt:

We write to respectfully request that you provide $50 million for viral hepatitis prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the FY2011 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill.  This funding would allow for the provision of core prevention services that include hepatitis B and C education, counseling, testing, referral to care, delivery of hepatitis A and B vaccines, and establishing a national surveillance system for chronic hepatitis B and C, which are currently not supported by the federal government. In FY2010, the Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) at CDC received$19.3 million:  the only dedicated federal funding to address viral hepatitis.  This amount does not allow for the provision of core prevention services. We appreciate the Committee’s past support for viral hepatitis prevention and strongly encourage you to increase the commitment this year. 

Nearly 5.3 million Americans are infected with viral hepatitis – roughly six times the number of Americans with HIV – and most of them do not know it.  Viral hepatitis causes at least 15,000 deaths each year and is a leading cause of liver cancer, one of the most lethal, expensive and fastest growing cancers in America.  It is also a leading cause of death in Americans living with HIV - nearly 25 percent of HIV-positive Americans are also infected with hepatitis C and nearly 10 percent with hepatitis B. In 2007 alone, the CDC estimated that 43,000 Americans were newly infected with hepatitis B and 17,000 with hepatitis C. 

An increased investment in viral hepatitis prevention at the CDC will lead to decreased health care costs for chronic viral hepatitis. The total cost of treatment of hepatitis B is approximately $2.5 billion and hepatitis C costs are expected to increase from $30 billion to over $85 billion in 2024, as baby boomers continue to age into Medicare and are likely to develop complications from hepatitis C, requiring expensive medical interventions.

These epidemics are particularly alarming given rising incidence rates and high prevalence rates among disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic populations. It is estimated that one in ten Asian Americans are chronically infected with hepatitis B, especially those from high endemic countries (Asia and sub-Saharan Africa).   African Americans are two to three times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than Caucasian Americans.  Further, the baby boomer population currently accounts for two out of every three cases of chronic hepatitis C. 

We urge you to provide $50 million for the viral hepatitis prevention program at CDC in fiscal year 2011.  Thank you for your attention to our concerns, and we look forward to working with you to advance programs for the prevention of these high-cost, chronic infectious diseases.

Sincerely,

 

 

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