Support for Hepatitis C Elimination

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TITLE: Support for Hepatitis C Elimination

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, AI/ANs are disproportionately affected by hepatitis C virus (HCV) and have both the highest rate of acute HCV infection and the highest HCV-related mortality rate of any US racial/ethnic group; and

WHEREAS, the AI/AN HCV-related mortality rate in California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington is over three times that of non-Hispanic whites and this disparity has persisted over time, demonstrating the need for enhanced and expanded HCV screening, prevention, testing and linkage to care services; and

WHEREAS, medical options for individuals with HCV have vastly improved and new medications have high rates of achieving sustained virologic response; and

WHEREAS, NCAI supports capacity building among primary care clinics, ensuring there are affordable HCV treatment, and ensuring the availability of necessary supportive services for all AI/ANs living with HCV infection; and

WHEREAS, NCAI supports enhancing HCV surveillance among member tribes, and setting and tracking HCV elimination targets.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) endorses this initiative to eliminate HCV among AI/ANs and supports:

• Enhancing HCV prevention, testing and linkage to care services for people who inject drugs, people who are incarcerated, men who have sex with men, and other populations disproportionately impacted by HCV infection;

• Expanding HCV screening to identify people living with HCV who are unaware of their status and link them to care;

• Providing access to HCV treatment without restrictions, and ensure the availability of necessary supportive services for all American Indian and Alaska Native people living with HCV infection;

• Enhancing HCV research, surveillance, set and track HCV elimination targets; and

• Enhancing commitment of tribal and elected officials, public health professionals, HCV experts, and partners to provide leadership and to develop a plan to eliminate HCV alongside community members living with and affected by HCV; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.