The House Appropriations Committee has released its budget proposal for the fiscal year 2020, affecting viral hepatitis through increased funding and awareness. View the full report here and the excerpted portions below.

Infectious Diseases and the Opioid Epidemic.—The Committee includes an increase of $15,000,000 to strengthen efforts to conduct surveillance to improve knowledge of the full scope of the burden of infectious diseases (including viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens) associated with substance use disorders, and in collaboration with State and local health departments, health care facilities, and providers, deploy existing authorities to prevent and detect infectious diseases associated with substance use disorder and strengthen linkages to addiction, mental health and infectious diseases treatment.

Viral Hepatitis.—The Committee recognizes that viral hepatitis can cause serious health consequences for people living with HIV and that 25 percent of people living with HIV are also living with hepatitis C virus (HCV), and about 10 percent of people living with HIV are also living with hepatitis B virus (HBV). The Committee urges CDC to incorporate viral hepatitis prevention, testing, and linkage to care and treatment into its response to the HIV epidemic.

Viral Hepatitis Vaccine.—The Committee is concerned that despite the availability of hepatitis B (HBV) vaccine, less than 25 percent of adults age 19 and older are vaccinated. According to CDC’s most recent survey of Vaccination Coverage Among Adults, this poor vaccination rate remains flat and has not improved in several years. Therefore, the Committee includes an increase of $11,000,000 and urges the CDC to partner with State, local and tribal health departments, along with leading national hepatitis B organizations to develop a plan that takes into account best practices and model strategies to increase HBV immunization coverage among adults. The Committee requests a report within 90 days of enactment of this Act of CDC’s plan to increase the rate of HBV adult vaccination to the levels necessary to eliminate new infections of hepatitis B in the U.S. and to improve collaboration and coordination across CDC to achieve this plan.

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