Hepatitis A, B and C continues to attack the poorest communities of NYC with more force

If it is contrasted with the available data for the year 2020, the confirmed cases of hepatitis A, B and C, during 2021 increased considerably in the Big Apple. There is a very clear reason: according to the analysis of the New York City Department of Health (DOHMH), this jump is associated with the barriers and limits imposed, in many cases, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its annual report On the advances of this specific group of viral diseases, the DOHMH concluded that they were registered in many health centers limited hepatitis B and C testing services, due to physical distancing requirements and reduced laboratory capacity. This scheme delayed diagnosis and initiation of treatment.

The “snapshot” of the increase in cases is due to the fact that more people logically accessed health care and screening services in 2021, after the first year of the pandemic.

According to what has been validated by many health organizations, it was evident the “great fears” of patients seeking care to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

“Hepatitis can be prevented and treated. However, the biggest threat to people living with hepatitis are barriers to care. We have to do everything possible to reduce inequalities and guarantee the availability of preventive and treatment services,” said the dr. Ashwin Vasan, DOHMH commissioner.

Marginalized communities

Although the number of new reported cases of chronic hepatitis B and C has decreased since 2016not all New Yorkers have equitable access to detection, prevention, and medical care for these viral diseases, due to underinvestment in certain neighborhoods and communities.

“These factors prevent many marginalized communities from accessing services against viral hepatitis, This exposes them to a higher risk of infection. For people living with hepatitis B or Cquality medical care are even more out of their reach ”, highlights the report.

In 2021, more and more reports of hepatitis A were received among people who use drugs and homeless people, which traditionally constitutes the populations most affected by the continuous outbreaks of hepatitis A throughout the country.

Another fact that emerges from the report is that 56.7% of the new cases of chronic hepatitis B were men and 43.2% lived in high or very high poverty neighborhoods.

In the case of hepatitis C, 62.9% of the newly infected were men and 43.1% lived in high or very high poverty neighborhoods. People with a history of injecting or intranasal drug use they made up 47% of people aged 18-34 years newly registered with chronic hepatitis C in 2021.

I searched for information:

  • For information about the hepatitis A, B y C, or to find a place that offers low-cost or no-cost hepatitis A vaccines; hepatitis B testing, vaccination or treatment; or test or treat hepatitis C, visit nyc.gov/health/hepatitis or call 311.
  • have access to Hep Free NYC is a community coalition of clinical and community health providers, researchers, advocates, and people with lived experience with hepatitis B and/or C, or to get involved, visit HepFree.nyc .

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