Our Advocacy Efforts on Behalf of People with Hepatitis B
"Double the Federal Funding" Campaign for Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer
The Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) is leading the charge in a national advocacy campaign to Double the Federal Funding within five years for hepatitis B and liver cancer research and public health. Washington leaders are listening. We have their ear. What we need now is a loud, strong and visible hepatitis B advocacy presence.
Currently, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) will spend only $49 million in 2016-2017 on hepatitis B research programs. A targeted federal research commitment has made a significant difference for HIV/AIDS, which is currently funded at $3 billion. By doubling the NIH budget to $100 million for hepatitis B, we have a good chance of success in finding a cure in the next 5 to 10 years.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will spend less than $10 million in 2016-2017 on hepatitis B public health programs. A targeted federal public health commitment has also made a significant difference for HIV/AIDS, which is currently funded at almost $900 million. By doubling the CDC budget to $20 million for hepatitis B, we have a much better chance of increasing access to life-saving screening, prevention and referral to care services.
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Other Advocacy Efforts
Imagine not being able to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a healthcare professional because of a chronic hepatitis B infection. For most people, hepatitis B related discrimination is seen as a problem outside the U.S. The HBF, however, spent years helping individuals either denied admission to medical/dental/nursing schools, or threatened with dismissal from their training programs because of a chronic hepatitis B diagnosis. This personal story describes the experience of one of the people that we helped.
In 2011 HBF mobilized support from national leaders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address the growing problem. The CDC responded and published updated Recommendations for Hepatitis B Infected Healthcare Providers and Students (July 2012), which clearly state that hepatitis B is not a reason to deny or dismiss a person from studying or practicing a healthcare profession.
These new CDC recommendations became the cornerstone of the landmark hepatitis B settlement by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2013, which successfully made hepatitis B a protected condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Following this ruling, a federal letter prohibiting hepatitis B discrimination was sent to ALL health related schools in the U.S. regarding the illegality of hepatitis B discrimination.
In recognition of the HBF’s key role in addressing hepatitis B-related discrimination, HBF executive director and co-founder Ms. Joan Block was honored by the White House for her advocacy success and the resulting protection now provided by the ADA for individuals living with chronic hepatitis B infection in the United States.