Welcome to HCV Advocate’s hepatitis blog. The intent of this blog is to keep our website audience up-to-date on information about hepatitis and to answer some of our web site and training audience questions. People are encouraged to submit questions and post comments.

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Alan Franciscus
Editor-in-Chief
HCV Advocate
HBV Advocate

Thursday, March 8, 2012

ACTION ALERT URGE YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO ENSURE OUR NATION IS PROPERLY FUNDING VIRAL HEPATITIS PROGRAMS

Representatives Michael Honda (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Judy Chu (D-CA) have sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to every Member of the House asking them to sign on asking the House Appropriations Committee to support increased funding for the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We need your help in raising awareness among Members of Congress about viral hepatitis and asking their support for increased funding for viral hepatitis activities at the federal level.  The more Members of Congress that sign on to this letter, the greater the likelihood the Appropriators will include additional funding in FY2013.

Viral hepatitis impacts over 5.3 million people nationwide. With a lack of a comprehensive surveillance system, these estimates are likely only the tip of the iceberg and 75% of those infected do not know their status. Even with these daunting figures, the CDC only receives $29.7 million in federal funding dedicated to fund viral hepatitis activities.  Members of Congress need to know that viral hepatitis is a concern in their district, that their constituents are being affected and that this is an issue they need to care about. We need you to tell your story and ask your elected representatives to sign on by March 15, 2012.


Instructions:

Please call your Representative’s Washington, DC office and ask to speak with the staff person who handles health issues.  You can call your Representative at 202.225.3121. You will get the Capitol switchboard.  Ask to be connected to your Representative’s office.  If you don’t know who your Representative is, you can go online to www.house.gov to determine your Member of Congress.

Whether you speak to this person directly or leave a message, tell them:

My name is ____________ and I live in City/State/Zip. I am writing to urge Representative ________________ to sign on to a Dear Colleague funding letter supporting increased funding for viral hepatitis prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The funding letter is being circulated by Reps. Mike Honda, Hank Johnson and Judy Chu.  [Include brief details on the impact of viral hepatitis on yourself or describe your organization].

There are over 5.3 million Americans impacted by viral hepatitis but the only dedicated federal funding stream provides a mere $29.8 million through CDC.  This is insufficient to provide the most basic public health services such as education, counseling, testing, or medical management for people living with or at risk of viral hepatitis.

I urge Representative ___________ to sign on to Mr. Honda’s Appropriations Letter.

If you need assistance or want to talk through the process please contact Oscar Mairena or Daniel Raymond.

Thanks for taking the time to make these important phone calls!


Oscar Mairena
Senior Associate, Viral Hepatitis/Policy and Legislative Affairs
National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD)
444 North Capitol Street NW, Suite 339
Washington, DC  20001
Phone: (202) 434.8058      Fax: (202) 434.8092
omairena@NASTAD.org     www.NASTAD.org  

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