Chronic hepatitis C infection is a leading cause of liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplants. These complications can be prevented or mitigated by early detection, treatment, and lifestyle changes. An estimated 750,000 people are living with chronic hepatitis C infection in California, yet at least 45 percent of these individuals remain unaware of their infection. The long-term health implications and health care costs of hepatitis C infection are substantial. Since 2007, the annual number of deaths due to hepatitis C infection in the United States has surpassed those due to HIV. From 2002-2011, charges for hepatitis C-related liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplant-related hospitalizations in California exceeded $20 billion.
To increase the proportion of persons living with hepatitis C who are aware of their infection and linked to appropriate care, the California Academy of Family Physicians is partnering with the California Hepatitis Alliance, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, and other groups to promote participation in the Hepatitis C Clinician Honor Roll. The honor roll provides a forum in which physicians can pledge publically to screen their patients for hepatitis C in accordance with the recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force, with an emphasis on one-time screening for persons born during 1945-1965. To join the clinician honor roll, please visit California Hepatitis C Clinicians' Honor Roll Pledge Form (http://bit.ly/1FiNFvc).
The California Department of Public Health, Office of Viral Hepatitis Prevention also provides information on viral hepatitis for the public, local health departments, and health care providers at its website: Office of Viral Hepatitis Prevention (OVHP).
Original signed by Karen Smith
Karen Smith, MD, MPH Director and State Health Officer