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Hep B United commemorates World Hepatitis Day, July 28


Hep B United, a national coalition established by the Doylestown-based Hepatitis B Foundation and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) to address the epidemic of hepatitis B, hosted its 11th annual summit in Washington July 24 and 25.

The summit brought together nearly 100 community leaders, advocates, clinicians, federal partners and people living with hepatitis B to discuss strategies and challenges toward eliminating hepatitis B in the U.S.

Participants discussed innovative local and national programs to prevent, diagnose and treat hepatitis B. Discussions focused on strategies to disseminate and implement the new universal adult hepatitis B testing and vaccination recommendations, while also ensuring the continuation of work toward addressing hepatitis B and liver cancer related health disparities among disproportionately impacted communities.

Summit participants identified critical needs for improving the hepatitis B care cascade in the U.S. This includes the need for point-of-care testing for hepatitis B, increased access to vaccine, capacity building and support for disseminating and publishing community-based data, and enhanced training and support for patient navigators. The summit also featured people living with hepatitis B, to discuss the role of storytelling in increasing public awareness and combating stigma and discrimination.

At the end of the two-day meeting, Hep B United partners hosted an awareness event in front of the White House, carrying signs such as “We Are Fighting 4 Our Lives” and “Hep B Can’t Wait.”

“This was an ideal way to commemorate World Hepatitis Day, and an opportunity to spotlight the needs of people living with hepatitis B, and generate action towards prioritization hepatitis B, hepatitis D and liver cancer as urgent health priorities,” stated Dr. Chari Cohen, president of the Hepatitis B Foundation.

HBU also conferred the Hep B United Congressional Champion Award to U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01).

World Hepatitis Day is observed each year on July 28. That is the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg, Nobel Laureate who discovered the hepatitis B virus and developed the first vaccine.

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