Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are 3 to 5 times more common than HIV/AIDS infections in the United States, yet few public health resources are devoted to identifying those at risk and ensuring they get proper care, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
Partly as a result of the lack of resources invested in this area, about 150 000 individuals living with chronic HBV or HCV infection are expected to die of liver complications over the next 10 years. But according to the new report, many of these deaths could be prevented if US public health officials mounted a more effective response, if physicians and other caregivers followed recommended screening and treatment protocols, and if the public were better educated about these conditions and their treatment.
Kuehn BM. Report: Too Little Surveillance, Treatment for US Patients With Hepatitis B and C. JAMA. 2010;303(8):713-714. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.161