East Bay Getting to Zero

On March 29, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released two important Dear Colleague Letters for health care providers in California. 

  1. In the first letter, CDPH recommends emergency departments (EDs) consider offering routine, opt-out screening for HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and syphilis. See attached and here: Dear Colleague Letter: Opt-Out Emergency Department HIV, HCV, and Syphilis Screening (March 2022) (PDF)
    1. EDs are uniquely positioned to identify people with syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis C who otherwise might remain undiagnosed.
    2. Implementation of opt-out HIV, HCV, and syphilis testing is supported by California state law and health department recommendations.
    3. Routine opt-out ED syphilis, HIV, and HCV screening is an effective strategy to identify infections, begin immediate treatment, link to care, prevent transmission, and promote health equity.
  2. In the second letter, CDPH alerts health care providers to a new state law (Assembly Bill 789), effective January 1, 2022, which requires facilities offering primary care to screen their adult patients for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. See attached and here: CDPH Dear Colleague Letter – Assembly Bill (AB) 789 (March, 2022) (PDF)
    1. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are leading causes of liver disease and of significant racial disparities, yet many people living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C have no symptoms and remain unaware of their infection.
    2. Increased screening has the potential to increase the number of Californians with hepatitis B or hepatitis C who become aware of their infection and are linked to care.
    3. There are treatments available for hepatitis B and a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B in people who remain susceptible to infection; hepatitis C infection can now be cured in as little as 8-12 weeks.