Every year, on July 28th, the world comes together to observe World Hepatitis Day, a global initiative aimed at raising awareness about viral hepatitis and its impact on millions of people worldwide. In the fight against this silent killer, Arizona Liver Health has emerged as a leader, spearheading efforts to eliminate viral hepatitis through innovative treatments, comprehensive care, and community engagement. In this blog, we delve into the significance of World Hepatitis Day and explore how Arizona Liver Health is making a difference in the battle against viral hepatitis.
Understanding Viral Hepatitis:
Viral hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases caused by five distinct hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E. More than 1.2 million lives are lost each year to hep B and hep C. Only 43% of children receive the hep B vaccine, and every 30 seconds someone loses their life to a hepatitis related illness. The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has become a significant public health crisis, with the number of new cases being four times higher than a decade ago. In the United States alone, an estimated 2.4 million people are currently living with active HCV infections. Alarmingly, 40% of these individuals are unaware of their infection. However, recent advancements in medical treatments have significantly improved the cure rate for HCV, reaching approximately 98% with standard treatment.
World Hepatitis Day: A Call to Action:
World Hepatitis Day serves as a critical platform to increase awareness, encourage prevention measures, and advocate for accessible testing and treatment options. It calls for urgent action to reach the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. The theme “Hepatitis Can’t Wait” underscores the need to accelerate efforts in diagnosing and treating those affected to prevent further complications.
Arizona Liver Health: A Leader in Viral Hepatitis Elimination:
As a pioneering healthcare organization, Arizona Liver Health has taken significant strides to combat viral hepatitis and improve patient outcomes. Here’s how:
Comprehensive Testing and Diagnosis: Arizona Liver Health emphasizes early detection through widespread testing initiatives. They offer accessible testing facilities, including innovative rapid diagnostic methods, making it easier for individuals to know their hepatitis status.
Cutting-Edge Treatment Options: If you test positive for hep C, there is a cure. These medications are called direct acting antivirals (DAA’s). You may have previously heard that hep C treatment had terrible side effects or that you needed weekly shots. That was true for a long time, but not anymore! Now, by taking as few as one pill a day for 8-12 weeks, you can be cured of hep C with very few side effects. It’s possible to get hep C more than once. That’s why it’s important to try to continue reducing your risk by limiting your contact with other people’s blood when possible.
Patient Education and Support: Recognizing the importance of patient empowerment, Arizona Liver Health provides extensive educational resources and support groups to assist patients throughout their treatment journey.
Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is Arizona’s state Medicaid program. AHCCCS can help you pay for doctor’s office visits, hep C treatment, and more. Sobriety is no longer a requirement for AHCCCS to cover your hepatitis C treatment. If you weren’t approved for Hep C treatment in the past (due to a urine screen or otherwise), the requirements have changed, and you may be eligible now. More information about insurance and eligibility can be found at hivaz.org.
Syringe service programs (SSPs) are public health programs that distribute sterile equipment to people who use drugs. SSPs provide many other services as well, including referrals to substance use treatment and housing, free condoms, risk reduction counseling, and overdose prevention materials like Naloxone/ Narcan. As of May 2021, SSPs were legalized in Arizona through SB 1250. If you are a participant at an Arizona needle exchange, you cannot be charged for the possession of a syringe containing residual amounts of a controlled substance.
Community Outreach Programs: Arizona Liver Health actively engages with local communities through awareness campaigns, educational seminars, and free testing events. By collaborating with community partners, they strive to reach vulnerable populations and those at high risk for hepatitis infections.
Research and Clinical Trials: As a leader in the field, Arizona Liver Health is involved in cutting-edge research and clinical trials, contributing to advancements in hepatitis treatment and elimination strategies.
World Hepatitis Day reminds us of the urgent need to prioritize the fight against viral hepatitis and work collectively to eliminate its burden. Arizona Liver Health exemplifies what it means to be a leader in viral hepatitis elimination with their commitment to comprehensive care, advanced treatments, and community engagement. As we observe this important day, let us stand together with Arizona Liver Health and other dedicated organizations in the mission to make viral hepatitis a thing of the past. By getting tested today, we can pave the way for a healthier and hepatitis-free future for all. Call us at 480-470-4000 to learn more or get tested today.