May Webinar to Highlight Research to Address Disparities in Hepatitis Burden
The month of April represented National Minority Health Month, and as we push forward in the acceleration of hepatitis elimination, it is important to recognize the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities that are prevalent in hepatitis infection and access to screening and treatment. In the United States, minority populations within the United States bear a disproportionate burden of both acute and chronic hepatitis B and C. The recent American National Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan highlights these disparities and puts forth specific interventions and monitoring targets for tracking progress in reducing the disparities over time. Below some of the key disparities are highlighted.
Despite making up only 6% of the country population, Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Americans account for 58% of all individuals living with chronic HBV in the United States. In comparison to non-Hispanic whites, the prevalence for HBV among API is 31-fold higher. Non-Hispanic Black people trail behind Asian Americans as the group with the second highest HBV-related burden, with a mortality rate of 0.7 per 100,000 compared to non-Hispanic whites (0.27 per 100,000) .
Additionally, non-Hispanic Black people aged 20-59 and older than 60 are also 1.6 and 10 times more likely to have hepatitis C than any other race or ethnicity, respectively. Rounding out the last minority group to face disparities in hepatitis are American Indian and Alaskan Natives (AI/AN). The rate of new infections of acute hepatitis C has historically remained higher among AI/AN than all other racial/ethnic groups, with 3.6 cases per 100,000 occurring in 20181.
Factors hindering minorities from equitable screening and care for hepatitis are associated with language and culture barriers among immigrants, disparity in community knowledge of HBV and HCV, and lack of insurance due to low socioeconomic status.
The new United States Action Plan includes a goal to "Reduce viral hepatitis-related disparities and health inequities." Specific indicators for tracking progress against these indicators are listed below:
To learn more about the current research being undertaken to target these noted disparities, please join our upcoming webinar "Leaving no one behind: Research to uncover and address health disparities in hepatitis burden of disease and cure" on May 13th, 2021 hosted by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the Office of AIDS Research (OAR). To register for the webinar, please click here.
- Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan, A Roadmap to Elimination for the United States: 2021-2025. Retrieved from: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/Viral-Hepatitis-National-Strategic-Plan-2021-2025.pdf?emci=43c11bba-ec9d-eb11-85aa-0050f237abef&emdi=bbab887b-2ca1-eb11-85aa-0050f237abef&ceid=3982335