To increase knowledge and awareness about hepatitis B and hepatitis C in at-risk populations and the general population, the committee offers the following recommendation:

Recommendation 3-2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should work with key stakeholders to develop, coordinate, and evaluate innovative and effective outreach and education programs to target at-risk populations and to increase awareness in the general population about hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

The programs should be linguistically and culturally appropriate and should advance integration of viral hepatitis and liver-health education into other health programs that serve at-risk populations. They should incorporate interventions that meet the following goals:

  • Promote better understanding of HBV and HCV infections, transmission, prevention, and treatment in the at-risk and general populations.

  • Promote increased hepatitis B vaccination rates among children and at-risk adults.

  • Educate pregnant women and women of childbearing age about hepatitis B prevention.

  • Reduce perinatal HBV infections and improve at-birth immunization rates.

  • Increase testing rates in at-risk populations.

  • Reduce stigmatization of chronically infected people.

  • Promote safe injections among IDUs and safe drug use among non-injection-drug users (NIDUs).

  • Provide culturally and linguistically appropriate educational information for all persons who have tested positive for chronic HBV or HCV infections and those who are receiving treatment.

  • Encourage notification of close household and sexual contacts of infected people to be tested for HBV and HCV and encourage hepatitis B vaccination of close contacts.

Immunization

The longstanding availability of effective hepatitis B vaccines makes the elimination of new HBV infections possible, particularly in children. As noted above, about 1,000 newborns are infected by their HBV-positive mothers at birth each year in the United States, and that number has not declined in the last decade. To prevent transmission of HBV from mothers to their newborns, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices



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