As the opioid epidemic remains prevalent across the United States, local and city health departments are seeing a correlated increase in opioid use and the diagnosis of infectious diseases, especially hepatitis C. Last year at the 2017 NACCHO Annual Conference, OraSure Technologies hosted a session welcoming members from various health departments to discuss how they are dealing with the increase of infectious disease cases because of the opioid epidemic, and the actionable steps they are taking for early diagnosis.
- Nicholas Parr from NACCHO introduced the session with an overview of the national opioid and related infectious disease epidemic.
- Patricia High from the Ocean County Health Department discussed the implementation of a new program for rapid Hepatitis C testing in the local public health context. She looked at the some of the obstacles and challenges, as well as the opportunities and successes they had in Ocean County with the program.
- Taylor Ingram from the Louisville Jefferson County Department of Public Health and Wellness presented on the syringe exchange program that was started in Louisville to prevent an outbreak of Hepatitis C and HIV.
- Charles Howsare from Pennsylvania Department of Health went over the intersection of overdose opioid use disorder and HCV in Pennsylvania.
- Alicia Uson from the Georgia Department of Public Health presented on the health district’s new Hepatitis C prevalence project which attempts to develop a true picture of the Hepatitis C burden in its surrounding communities.
To view the recording of the session, click here.