Hepatitis C Virus
More than 3.5 million Americans are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV), making it the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States. Chronic HCV infection is a leading cause of liver failure, liver cancer, and liver transplantation. Baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) are six times more likely to be infected with HCV than those in other age groups, however a surge in new infections is being seen among young people who inject drugs. This is primarily a result of increasing injection drug use associated with America’s growing opioid epidemic. Additionally, there are growing rates of sexual transmission among HIV-positive men who have sex with men.
Local health departments are on the frontlines of addressing the HCV continuum from prevention to cure, and moving the United States closer to the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. NACCHO supports the role of local health departments in achieving elimination goals through capacity building, guidance, and advocacy.