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Congressmen Request $50 Million Funding for HCV
  We need several hundred million to address HCV in the USA and we need a National HCV Testing Day, but below is a letter to Congress' Labor/HHS Committee for $50Mill from 4 Congressmen.
You can help in the effort to secure funding for HCV by contacting your Congressional Representative & ask them to support this request:
The Honorable David Obey
Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education
House Appropriations Committee
2358 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Todd Tiahrt
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education
House Appropriations Committee
2358 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20 515
July 15, 2010
Re: FY 2011 Viral Hepatitis Funding
Dear Chairman Obey and Ranking Member Tiahrt:
On behalf of the 140 community based organizations that are represen ted by the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) I am writing respectfully to request that you provide funding for the Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the amount of $50 million.
In accordance with the request made to you yesterday by the Honorable Members of Congress, Mr. Cao, Mr. Cassidy, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Towns, we believe that the Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund provides the opportunity to address the critically underfunded viral hepatitis epidemic in the United States. As the Members noted, with the impending plan for viral hepatitis being developed in the Department of Health and Human Services, under the direction of Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Howard Koh, the time to fund viral hepatitis prevention is now.
In the United States, up to 1.4 million people have chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections and up to 3.9 million are infected with chronic hepat itis C virus (HCV). Three to five times as many people are living wi th chronic viral hepatitis infections than with HIV infection, and mortality rates from hepatitis associated liver disease and liver cancer equal those of HIV, yet DVH received only $19.3 million in FY 2010. This is only 2% of funding that HIV/AIDS receives.
A report released in January by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) cites the dearth of federal resources to address viral hepatitis. This is causing many Americans to go unaware that they are infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C until their disease has progressed to significant liver damage or liver cancer. Further, not knowing one's status, can lead to virus transmission to others.
The IOM identified hepatitis as an underappreciated health threat reflected by studies which show that 65 - 75% of persons living with chronic hepatitis are unaware of their infection and The report cited the lack of national coordination as hampering efforts to prevent and control these diseases and recommended increased commitments to surveillance, education, vaccination and screening, and health services to reduce viral hepatitis associated liver disease and cancer.
Undiagnosed infections drive up medical care costs due to disease complications and ongoing transmission. It is imperative that we make individuals aware of their infections to increase quality of life and decrease costs. The projected direct and indirect costs of this epidemic, if left unchecked, will be over $85 billion annually by 2024.
Thank you for considering this request.
Martha Saly
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable
Letter from Congress

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