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28 MAY 2019

ALF Leads Eliminate Hepatitis C San Diego County Initiative

I am proud to note that the American Liver Foundation’s Pacific Coast Division (PCD) has been chosen as facilitating agency for a planning process that involves healthcare organizations, corrections facilities, boarder health advocates, social service and homeless organizations and many others.  It will result in the development of a roadmap to eliminate hepatitis C in San Diego County.  The Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Eliminate Hepatitis C San Diego County Initiative is Christian B. Ramers, MD, MPH, AAHIVS, infectious diseases specialist and assistant medical director of Family Health Centers of San Diego, and a PCD Medical Advisory Committee member.

After presenting a formal proposal letter to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, the initiative received approval to conduct planning activities throughout 2019 with a mandate to present findings, recommendations, and a roadmap to elimination back to the Board in December.  Once the recommendations are presented and approved by the County, the initiative will be known as EndHepCSD.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a significant problem in San Diego.  In 2017, 3,112 new cases were reported in San Diego County, and HCV was listed as an underlying cause of death annually in 70 to 100 deaths in the region.  Suspecting that there are many unreported and/or undiscovered cases, the committee seeks to move beyond these statistics to model the true incidence of HCV in the region, the prevalence in various sub-populations, and ultimately to model what pace of diagnosis and treatment will be necessary to reach elimination, defined as an 80% reduction in incidence, and a 65% reduction in mortality, in line with World Health Organization benchmarks.

Scott Suckow, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Division, notes, “To eliminate HCV in our community, all partners need to be involved with the development and eventually the implementation of the plan.  To ensure stakeholders are engaged, our local planning efforts embraced a Public-Private Partnership model, which honors everyone’s unique contributions.”

Tom Nealon
President & CEO
American Liver Foundation

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