I'm making this a separate thread so it isn't buried in a thread with an unrelated title.
In the sharing cosmetics thread a few of you started talking about the lack of funds for awareness, etc. Last year the Division of Viral Hepatitis got $17.5M. There is something you can do. Below is a copy of the letter that went out to Senators. It was prepared by the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable. The due date for the letter is May 1, 2009. Also, it needs to be sent only through your Senator's webform on his/her website otherwise it may be marked as spam and get trashed. I'm told that snail mail is not good either due to the previous anthrax scares. You can find your senator's email web form here:
Here is the template for you to use:
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
I am requesting your support for increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) in the Senate stimulus package. Increased funding for DVH will make a significant impact in reducing the morbidity and mortality from chronic viral hepatitis, an investment that would not only prevent viral hepatitis infections, but stimulate the economy by creating much needed jobs.
We also want to thank you for your longstanding commitment to maintaining the health of our nation by vigorously supporting federal funding of our nation’s public health and research agencies. Through your leadership, CDC is poised to turn the tide against chronic viral hepatitis in the United States but can not respond effectively without additional funding.
Specifically, we are seeking the following hepatitis-specific funding:
$53 million to improve the detection of viral hepatitis by creating a complete and consistent national surveillance system;
$113 million to reduce illness and death from chronic viral hepatitis by building the capacity of state and local health departments to provide counseling, testing, education, case management, public awareness, and professional education;
$66.6 million to eliminate hepatitis B transmission among adults in the U.S. by providing vaccines to high risk adults and the infrastructure necessary for vaccine delivery; and
$26.4 million to prevent hepatitis B transmission and disease among infected pregnant women and their infants by creating a comprehensive case management program to vaccinate and monitor exposed infants, referring infected mothers for appropriate care, and screening and vaccinating family members.
Up to 5-6 million Americans are infected with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV), which are the leading causes of primary liver cancer -- the fastest growing cancer in incidence in the U.S. Each year, 10,000 Americans die prematurely from end-stage liver disease or liver cancer due to chronic viral hepatitis infections. Without an increase in funding to support prevention and surveillance capacity, chronic viral hepatitis will exact an unacceptably high burden of disease, death, and associated costs on the American public. Immediate action will avert this result.
We strongly support the need to invest in CDC capacity to win the battle against chronic viral hepatitis, which will ultimately lower health care costs and most important, improve the health and longevity of our citizens.
Now you're going to notice that there is a lot of money for hep B also and you may ask why can't hep C advocates go after just hep C funding. There are a lot of reasons that the people working on funding, legislation and policy have decided to go in this direction. The CDC has recently re-organized and made Viral Hepatitis part of a group that includes, TB, SSTD's and HIV. Another reason is that the government is moving away from one disease funding. They do not want to see "Ryan White" all over again. So the best shot at getting more money for HCV is when you "bundle" it. So use this as a template or write your own letter before May 1, 2009.