05-R 253

2005 -- H 6472

Enacted 05/10/05







     Introduced By: Representatives McNamara, Davey, Watson, Singleton, and Mumford

     Date Introduced: May 10, 2005



     WHEREAS, All Viral Hepatitis (A, B, & C) are preventable through education or

immunization; and

     WHEREAS, According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, it is estimated that

more than 18,000 Rhode Islanders are infected with the Hepatitis C virus; and

     WHEREAS, Of those infected with Hepatitis C, 80 85% will develop a chronic

infection and an estimated 10,000 Rhode Islanders will develop chronic liver disease; and

     WHEREAS, The regional cost of a liver transplant currently averages about $350,000 for

immediate hospital and doctor expenses indicating that HCV prevention, testing and treatment

should be considered as cost-effective public policies; and

     WHEREAS, Viral Hepatitis is typically asymptomatic, and therefore infected individuals

may unknowingly transmit the virus to others; and

     WHEREAS, Persons infected with Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C may not learn of their

infection until 10 to 30 years later when complications arise from chronic viral Hepatitis; and

     WHEREAS, Hepatitis C infection is the largest single cause for liver transplantation and

one of the principal causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis; and

     WHEREAS, Chronic Hepatitis C infection is the most common indication for liver

transplantation in the United States; and

     WHEREAS, There are now more than 20,000 people in the United States waiting for a

liver transplant, but there are currently only about 4,900 livers available each year; and

     WHEREAS, Vaccinations exist for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, and there is a need to

promote immunizations, especially for those who are infected with other Hepatitis viruses; and

     WHEREAS, No vaccine exists for Hepatitis C, and treatments have limited success,

making this infection among the most costly diseases in terms of health care costs, lost wages,

and reduced productivity; and

     WHEREAS, Approximately one-third of HIV infected persons in the United States are

also infected with Hepatitis C; and

     WHEREAS, Liver failure from Hepatitis C has become the leading cause of death for

people living with HIV; and

     WHEREAS, Hepatitis C infection progresses more rapidly to liver damage in HIV

infected persons and may impact the course and management of HIV infection; and

     WHEREAS, Therapy for Hepatitis C is evolving, and currently recommended regimens

are effective in approximately 50 percent of patients; and

     WHEREAS, Early diagnosis can lead to the possibility of preventing further transmission

of viral Hepatitis; and

     WHEREAS, Prevention education and other preventive measures, such as vaccination,

can lead to the prevention of viral hepatitis; and

     WHEREAS, Members of the House of Representatives as individuals are in a unique

position to help raise public awareness about the need for increased funding for prevention

education and immunization for Hepatitis A and B, and increased research on viral Hepatitis;

now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That the community organizations and health care providers should be

applauded for their role in promoting awareness about viral Hepatitis and the importance of early

detection, prevention education, other preventive measures including vaccination and ongoing

screening; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Federal Government, with respect to viral Hepatitis be urged to

endeavor to raise awareness about the importance of prevention education, other preventive

measures, including vaccination, counseling, and appropriate treatment; increase funding for

prevention education, other preventive measures, and research, so that transmission of viral

Hepatitis is reduced and early detection of viral Hepatitis is promoted; increase the efforts to find

more effective treatments and cures, and continue to consider ways to improve access to high

quality health care services for the early detection and treatment of viral Hepatitis; and be it


     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and

Providence Plantations hereby designates the month of May 2005 as Viral Hepatitis Awareness

Month; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Viral Hepatitis Advisory Group.