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The Potential of Strategic Health Diplomacy in the Fight Against Hepatitis

July 28 marked the annual World Hepatitis Day. Such recognition is important at a time when the impacts of viral hepatitis are increasing worldwide; as of 2015, 4.4 percent of the world’s population was infected. In the United States, hepatitis C kills more people than the sum of all other infectious diseases that must be reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Globally, annual hepatitis deaths (1.34 million) exceed those from HIV/AIDS (1 million) or tuberculosis (1.2 million). However, in contrast to these other infectious diseases, viral hepatitis is a so-called “silent” epidemic affecting liver function with few outward signs, and deaths are not declining.

 


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