Viral hepatitis got some much-needed attention from the National Prevention Strategy announced by government health insiders this week. The NPS is a call to action for all levels of government as well as private businesses. It highlights a need for comprehensive prevention and treatment of a number of conditions.
Specifically, the strategy draws attention to the need for:
- Increased funds for STD testing facilities and birth control programs;
- Education for all ages about preventing and treating STDs;
- Prevention of drug abuse, a major contributor to the spread of viral hepatitis;
- Increased funds for affordable housing;
- Prevention of domestic violence; and
- Promotion of mental health.
A Small Win for Viral Hepatitis
In recent months, increased viral hepatitis infection rates have led some health workers to label it “the silent epidemic.” Though viral hepatitis affects about five times as many Americans as HIV, the latter gets more than 70 times more funding from the federal government.
And it’s a silent disease that’s fairly easy to treat if caught early with an STD test. But because few people have symptoms of viral hepatitis until later stages of the illness, treatment remains a challenge.