Dear Colleague:

July 28th is World Hepatitis Day and is an opportunity to remind providers of the impact you can have on the lives of your patients by providing prevention and treatment for hepatitis B and C. An estimated 230,000 New Yorkers are living with chronic hepatitis B, and 116,000 are living with chronic hepatitis C; many remain undiagnosed and at risk for cirrhosis and liver cancer.

In March 2020, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended one-time screening for hepatitis C in people aged 18-79. This important expansion in screening will increase the number of people who are aware of their status and get treated and cured.

Simplified treatment guidance has been developed for hepatitis B and C, enabling most people to be treated in a primary care setting. All people can be treated, regardless of their alcohol and drug use.

To improve the health outcomes of New Yorkers at risk for hepatitis B or C, providers should:

  • Test all persons at risk for hepatitis B at intake into care, including people who were born in countries with a high prevalence of hepatitis B, family members, and close contacts of people living with hepatitis B, and people who use drugs. Vaccinate people who are not immune.
  • Test all people aged 18-79 for hepatitis C at intake into care, including people who are pregnant. Re-test people with ongoing risk factors (i.e. current drug use) at least annually.
  • Treat people with chronic hepatitis B with antivirals according to professional guidelines. See the simplified treatment guidance here.
  • Cure all people with chronic hepatitis C with direct acting antiviral therapy, including people who use drugs, and alcohol. See simplified treatment guidance here.

Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH

Deputy Commissioner, Division of Disease Control



Click here to download July 2020 Dear Colleague Letter

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