July 28 was World Hepatitis Day, and this year’s theme from the World Health Organization is “Invest in eliminating hepatitis.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 257 million people are living with hepatitis B and 71 million people are living with hepatitis C worldwide. In the United States, only half of the estimated 2.4 million adults living with hepatitis C and one third of the estimated 862,000 people living with hepatitis B know their status.
CDC has been working with the country of Georgia to eliminate hepatitis C, as defined by a 90% reduction in prevalence—which is currently estimated at 5% of the population—by 2020. Injection drug use accounts for 40% of hepatitis C incidence in Georgia, and consequently Georgia has initiated hepatitis C testing and linkage to treatment in syringe service programs (SSPs). To date, three-fourths of the nearly 1,400 people who inject drugs (PWID) that have been identified through SSPs have been linked to care and 87% have completed treatment.
To learn more about viral hepatitis and what CDC is doing to promote testing and linkage to treatment at the local, state, national, and global levels, visit here.