VA will soon mark 100,000 Veterans cured of hepatitis C. This is exciting news and puts VA on track to eliminate hepatitis C in all eligible Veterans enrolled in VA care who are willing and able to be treated.
Building on this success, VA takes on another important issue during Hepatitis Awareness Month: making sure all Veterans experiencing homelessness are vaccinated for hepatitis A.
Recently, there have been multiple large outbreaks of hepatitis A among people who are homeless and people who use injection drugs across the U.S. Currently, there is a large outbreak in Tennessee and Kentucky that has affected well over 5,000 people across the two states with 60 deaths reported thus far.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, advising that all individuals experiencing homelessness be vaccinated against hepatitis A.
Given that individuals experiencing homelessness may also be at increased risk of exposure to hepatitis B, VA recommends vaccination for those with risk factors against both hepatitis A and B, as appropriate.
3D illustration of the Liver
During Hepatitis Awareness Month, the HIV, Hepatitis, and Related Conditions Programs, the Homeless Programs, and the National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention are collaborating to raise awareness on this issue.
We are collaborating with leadership and frontline providers to ensure all identified Veterans who are homeless, non-immune and unvaccinated for hepatitis A and those at risk of HBV exposure are offered vaccination, as appropriate, at their next VA appointment.
Veterans who are interested in either hepatitis A or B vaccination may ask their VA provider for more information.
Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19) is a great reminder to check in with your provider about hepatitis C testing and treatment as well.
Learn more about hepatitis on the VA’s Viral Hepatitis website.
Elizabeth Maguire, MSW is the Communications Lead for the HIV, Hepatitis, and Related Conditions Programs.