New York State Department of Health Recognizes World Hepatitis Day

This Year's Theme is "We're Not Waiting"

The Department is Working Aggressively to Eliminate Hepatitis C, Which Has Risen Among Reproductive Age Adults

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 28, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health today recognizes World Hepatitis Day, which takes place each year on July 28 and raises awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis. This year's theme of "We're Not Waiting," is a call to action to accelerate elimination efforts of hepatitis and a reminder of the need for early testing and treatment.

Viral hepatitis is an infection that affects the liver and includes five different types (A-E), with the three most common types being hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. There is a vaccine for hepatitis A and B, but there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, which is currently on the rise, particularly among reproductive age adults.

"New York State supports this year's theme of 'We're not Waiting' to eliminate hepatitis C, one of the most common types of viral hepatitis," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said."There are safe and effective treatments available. I encourage those who are at risk to take the steps to meet with a provider for more information, to get tested or, if necessary, to get treatment."

An estimated 40 percent of people living with hepatitis C are unaware they have it. From 2010-2021, 189,749 New Yorkers were diagnosed with hepatitis C and 52 percent of New Yorkers diagnosed between 2010 and 2021 were successfully treated or resolved the infection without treatment.

In May, Governor Kathy Hochul approved the expansion of the New York State Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Testing Law to require all adults 18 years and older and persons younger than 18 with a risk be offered a hepatitis C screening test. The newly expanded testing law also requires providers to order an HCV screening test on all pregnant people during each pregnancy. These changes will take effect next year.

The Department has taken an aggressive approach to eliminating hepatitis C as a public health problem by 2030. In November 2021, New York State reaffirmed its commitment to addressing hepatitis C with the release of the New York State Hepatitis C Elimination Plan. The Plan outlines recommendations in five key areas that will lead the state to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030, including prevention; care and treatment access; testing and linkage to care; surveillance, data, and metrics; and social determinants of health. On May 10, 2023, New York State hosted the first Annual Hepatitis C Elimination Progress Report meeting to share progress toward reaching New York State's elimination goals and metrics and to share programmatic, policy and other significant accomplishments. The progress report meeting was recorded and can be viewed here.

The Department, along with local health departments (LHDs), offer ways to control and prevent the spread of all hepatitis infections. Public health clinics, located in each county, may offer testing and vaccination (for hepatitis A and hepatitis B). Counseling and educational information is offered to anyone who may have been exposed to hepatitis, are at risk for developing infection, and to those who may already know they are infected and want to learn more about how they can protect others from becoming infected.

To find a nearby hepatitis C provider in New York State, visit the Department's provider directory here.

For information on hepatitis A and B vaccination, visit the webpage here.

For more information on viral hepatitis, visit the CDC webpage here.

For more information on World Hepatitis Day events and this year's campaign, visit World Hepatitis Day - World Hepatitis Day.