WASHINGTON “Systemic underfunding” at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Viral Hepatitis puts the health of millions of Americans with viral hepatitis at risk, a group of organizations focused on the disease said this week.
The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, a group of more than 150 public, private and voluntary groups, asked the Obama administration to increase funding for the CDC’s hepatitis division to provide for screening, surveillance and early intervention. The organization said that the administration’s 2011 budget proposal would reduce funding for the division, compared with a decade ago, during the Clinton administration.
About 5 million Americans are infected with hepatitis B or C, which can be transmitted via sexual contact or from mother to child.
NHVR chairwoman Lorren Sandt appeared Tuesday at a press briefing on Capitol Hill with NHVR steering committee member Andrew Muir of the Duke University School of Medicine, Reps. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., who recently completed treatment for hepatitis C, Mike Cassidy, R-La., a practicing hepatologist, Anh Cao, R-La., and Mike Honda, D-Calif. Cassidy, Cao and Honda are co-sponsors of H.R. 3974, which would give the CDC a $90 million boost in funding for hepatitis programs.
“NVHR applauds congressmen Johnson, Honda, [David] Wu, [D-Ore.], Cao and Cassidy for their steadfast, bipartisan commitment to providing adequate funding for viral hepatitis screening, surveillance and early intervention programs benefiting 5 million Americans,” Sandt said.