Advocacy Efforts for People with Hepatitis B
Our 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.