Originally Posted on May 18, 2015 

New York, NY—Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law legislation (Int. 51-B) by Council Members Margaret Chin, Corey Johnson and Peter Koo to require the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to issue a comprehensive annual report on hepatitis B and C. The annual report will focus on efforts by DOHMH to identify and prevent the spread of hepatitis B and C during the preceding calendar year.

Council Members Chin, Johnson and Koo introduced this legislation in February 2014, in an effort to increase public awareness around hepatitis B and C, and to help the city focus funding and resources to more effectively combat these diseases.

It is estimated that at least 250,000 people in New York City live with hepatitis B and C and are at risk for developing complications related to the disease. Many individuals who are infected are unaware of their status. Viral hepatitis remains a leading cause of liver cancer and related complications, and therefore presents a major public health challenge.

Hepatitis B has long had a severely destructive impact within the Asian-American community, both in New York City and across the United States. According to the CDC, 1 in 12 Asian-Americans have hepatitis B, and as many as two-thirds do not know they are infected. Hepatitis B and C also have a deeply negative impact within the LGBT community, with regard to HIV/hepatitis co-infection. According to the CDC, approximately 25 percent of people living with HIV and AIDS are co-infected with hepatitis C, and about 10 percent are co-infected with hepatitis B.

Based on the legislation by Council Members Chin, Johnson and Koo, the newly required DOHMH annual report will include (but is not limited to) the following data:

  • The number of persons newly reported to the department with hepatitis B and C infections
  • The prevalence of diagnosed cases of hepatitis B and C
  • The top five causes of hepatitis B and C infections in newly reported cases
  • Demographic information including age, gender, zip code and country of birth of persons infected
  • Number of deaths where hepatitis B or C is listed as the immediate or underlying cause of death
  • Number of deaths where hepatitis B or C or liver cancer is listed as a significant condition
  • Number of new liver cancer cases diagnosed
  • Number of new liver cancer cases diagnosed in which the person also has hepatitis B or C
  • The number of pregnant woman with hepatitis B
  • Funding allocated and used in the previous fiscal year for programs related to hepatitis B and C
  • Description and list of community outreach efforts targeting hepatitis B and C.

(The complete list of reporting requirements can be found in the text of the legislation.)

“Today we took a huge step forward in combatting hepatitis B and C in New York City. It’s a move that will help us save lives,” said Council Member Margaret Chin, lead sponsor of the legislation. “The detailed data required in this annual report will help us raise greater awareness around these destructive diseases, especially in the communities where they have a disproportionate impact. The annual report will also help our city to more accurately and effectively direct funding and resources to the community-based healthcare providers who are on the front lines of treating and preventing the spread of hepatitis B and C.”

“Hepatitis B and C are among our toughest public health challenges, affecting the most vulnerable New Yorkers, thousands of whom do not know they are infected” said Council Member Corey Johnson, chair of the Council’s Committee on Health. “For people living with HIV/AIDS, these diseases can have particularly serious consequences. This legislation will help us get a better understanding of the challenges at hand, the tools available to us, and the path forward. I thank my colleagues Margaret Chin and Peter Koo for sponsoring this important legislation.”

“A citywide report on hepatitis B and C trends will provide critical data that will take great strides toward controlling a debilitating disease that has become especially pervasive within Asian American communities,” said Council Member Peter Koo. “By focusing on raising awareness about hepatitis B and C, we take the first most important step of identifying and preventing its spread, and improving the health and well-being of all New Yorkers. Many thanks to my colleagues Council Members Margaret Chin and Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson for spearheading this important issue.”