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Hepatitis On the Hill

Do you feel alone with your hepatitis? Are you frustrated by inadequate services provided to those in need? Are you angry that hepatitis C treatment is so costly and difficult to obtain? Or that people are not vaccinating their kids against hepatitis B? If so, look at this picture:

Hep on the Hill

Making a Difference with Hepatitis on the Hill

These folks are all ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  (Well, except Kendall McGuffey who climbs mountains and is poised in front of an audience, and at age 13 is doing this for the second time. Yes, he is truly extraordinary.  So is his sister Kelsey.) But overall, these are people like you and me who said, “Enough! We must act.” Some have been doing this a long time, some are new at it, all were amazing.

For information about Hep on the Hill, visit my HEP blog. To add your voice and make a difference, here is what you can do:

  • Call your Congressional Representative through the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask to be connected to your Representative. If you aren’t sure who your elected officials are, you can look them up at congress.gov.
  • Once you are connected to the office, ask to speak to the staff person who handles health care issues. Whether you speak to that person live or leave a voicemail, tell them:
    • Your name
    • That you are a constituent from (your town/city and state)
    • That you would like the Representative to support an increase in funding for the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis to $62.8 million in FY2017. This is more than what President Obama is asking for, but about 100 million short of what we actually need.
    • Also, ask the legislator to support repeal of the federal funding ban on syringe exchange services. (Currently this issue is attracting bi-partisan support and a nudge from constituents may help this pass.)
    • Give a brief message of why this issue is important to you (You have it, someone you know has it, you are concerned about your community, or however you are touched by viral hepatitis)

Repeat the entire process with both your senators.

Then sit back and feel good about yourself.  If you want to do a tiny bit more, ask others to do this too.  Extra bonus points if you post to social media, mention your legislator and #EliminateHepC.

For more information about how to support efforts to improve viral hepatitis funding and services, visit National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable or the Hepatitis Appropriations Partnership.

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