Francisco Hepatitis C Task Force Releases Recommendations
for Fighting Epidemic
Francisco -- January 24, 2011 -- The San Francisco Hepatitis
C Task Force today released a report expressing grave concern
about the hepatitis C epidemic in the City and outlining a
series of recommendations for the Mayor and Board of Supervisors
to mount a comprehensive effort to fight the disease.
The report, entitled "Recommendations for Strategically
Addressing Hepatitis C in San Francisco" is the result
of a year-long process by the Task Force to identify gaps
to addressing hepatitis C in San Francisco and create a set
of strategic directions for San Francisco to have an immediate
impact in the following areas of hepatitis C: Research and
Surveillance; Prevention, Education, Awareness and Testing;
Care and Treatment; and Public Policy. The report can be viewed
Some recommendations in the document include: establishing
a hepatitis C coordinator position at the San Francisco Department
of Public Health; ensuring full access to hepatitis C treatment
and care through Healthy San Francisco; developing citywide
educational/awareness campaigns; and creating a pilot legal
supervised injection facility as part of a comprehensive hepatitis
C prevention strategy. The report is dedicated to the memory
of Randy Allgaier, who served as the Task Force's co-chair
until his untimely death in November 2010.
"This report highlights significant gaps in services
for people like me living with hepatitis C and others at risk
of infection," said Dominique Leslie, Task Force Co-Chair.
"We urge Mayor Lee and the Board of Supervisors to take
swift action to implement our recommendations."
The Task Force was convened in September, 2009, by then-Mayor
Gavin Newsom and includes over 30 advocates, medical and social
service providers, public health officials, and people living
with hepatitis C. The group was formed in response to growing
concern about the hepatitis C epidemic in the City. There
are an estimated 12,000 San Franciscans infected with hepatitis
C, with most not aware of their status.
The disease disproportionately affects African-Americans,
Latinos, veterans, people involved with the criminal justice
system, injection drug users, men who have sex with men, people
with HIV, immigrants, and low-income people. Hepatitis C can
lead to liver disease, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure
and death. In January of 2010, the Institutes of Medicine
a national report highlighting the severity of the hepatitis
B and C epidemics in the United States and calling on public
officials to participate in efforts to prevent, control, and
care for the diseases.
"Hepatitis C is a growing epidemic that puts a significant
burden on our public health and medical systems," said
Todd Frederick, MD, of California Pacific Medical Center Department
of Transplantation and Task Force member. "The lifetime
cost of treating one person with hepatitis C is estimated
to be between $100,000 and $300,000. Those who go untreated
face increased risks of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer,
and the cost for a liver transplant, for which HCV is the
leading cause, is estimated at $500,000. By implementing the
Task Force's recommendations, San Francisco has a unique opportunity
to prevent new infections and save money for the City, provide
care and treatment for those living with hepatitis C, prevent
long-term complications of the disease and be a leader in
the national fight against this disease."
The San Francisco Hepatitis C Task Force will continue as
a community coalition focused on advocating for full implementation
of all recommendations and educating public officials, medical
and social service providers, at-risk communities, and the
general public about hepatitis C and its impact on San Francisco.
For more information about the Task Force, visit www.hepcsf.org.
Francisco Hepatitis C Task Force. San Francisco Hepatitis C Task
Force Releases Recommendations for Fighting Epidemic. Press release.
January 24, 2011.
Knight. Injection center for drug users? Task force finds little
support. San Francisco Chronicle. February 6, 2011.