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Harm Reduction Conference: Special Report

Alan Franciscus
Editor-in-Chief, HCV Advocate

Session: National Hepatitis C Advocacy Council (NHCAC) – Together by Need. United by Choice

Presenter: Lorren Sandt, President, NHCAC, Oregon City, OR

The objective of this session was to discuss a national hepatitis C advocacy organization, its purpose, and present information on a draft of a new hepatitis C bill that will be introduced to the 108th Congress of the United States.

Lorren Sandt, president of the National Hepatitis C Advocacy Council, introduced the council, providing an overview of its history, mission, and objectives to bring about more awareness and services for people living with hepatitis C. Their motto is “We believe strongly in the power of people working together, and that, by doing so, we will make far more significant advances than could be made by any group or discipline working on its own.” The council is composed of various national and local hepatitis C organizations that have come together to advance the cause of hepatitis C (a list of member organizations can be found at the end of this article).

The most exciting portion of the presentation was that a new bill for hepatitis C education, prevention, and treatment, the Christen Graeber Winter Bill, has been written and will be introduced to the Senate early next year. It appears that support among the Senate members is strong and quickly gaining momentum.

The bill, in its current draft form, states its purpose to be: “To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish, promote, and support a comprehensive program for education, prevention, and treatment of Hepatitis C virus infection.”

Highlights of the bill include:

  • The Secretary shall implement a federal plan for prevention of Hepatitis C
    • Education and training
      • The Secretary, acting through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall implement programs to heighten awareness and enhance knowledge and understanding of Hepatitis C.
    • Early detection and surveillance
      • Voluntary Testing Programs
      • Surveillance Programs
      • Seroprevalence Study
    • Disease Control
    • Research
      • Establishment of a Hepatitis C Clinical Research Network
      • Natural history
      • Epidemiology
      • Testing
      • Prevention
      • Treatment of hepatitis C
    • The Secretary shall promote and support State and local hepatitis C counseling, pharmaceutical treatment, testing, and prevention programs
      • Vaccinations
      • Hepatitis C Coordinators
      • Underserved and disproportionately affected populations

    Clickhere if you would like to view a draft of the senate bill. It should be noted that this is a draft only and the bill will change as it winds it way through congress.

    Once the draft is finalized and introduced to the Senate, support among various organizations, groups and individuals is vital to secure approval. If you would like to be notified when to write/fax your Senators and Congresspersons to support this legislation, go to www.hepcnetwork.org and sign up for a one-time email alert. Information will be provided to help you in your advocacy efforts.

    National Hepatitis C Advocacy Council

    • American Liver Foundation
    • Frontline Hepatitis Awareness
    • HAAC
    • Hepatitis C Association
    • Hepatitis C Awareness Project / National Hepatitis C Prison Coalition
    • Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program
    • Hepatitis C Education & Support Network
    • Hepatitis C Global Foundation
    • Hepatitis C Support Project
    • Hepatitis Education Project
    • Hepatitis Foundation International
    • Hepatitis Magazine
    • Hepatitis Research Foundation
    • Hep C Advocate Network
    • Hep-C ALERT
    • Hep C Connection
    • Hope4Heppers Foundation
    • LiverHope
    • Missouri Hepatitis C Alliance
    • Veterans Aimed Toward Awareness

    Back to Conference Reports

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