Third Annual L.A. Summit on Hepatitis C to Tackle Disease among Incarcerated Populations, HIV Coinfection

Press Release November 13, 2005
Media Contact

James May at 916.444.3751 or Justin Burke at 213.201.1525

Los Angeles, CA – The third annual Hepatitis C Summit will be held at the Radisson Wilshire Plaza Hotel on Thursday, November 17, The Hepatitis C Task Force for Los Angeles County announced today.

The summit will provide a forum for education and discussion among local elected and appointed officials, community-based organizations, medical experts and consumers on the emerging hepatitis C epidemic and the impact of the disease on infected individuals and at-risk populations in Los Angeles County.

“Our aim in this third year is to raise awareness about a potentially deadly disease that lacks community and media attention,” said Alberto Mendoza, Los Angeles County Hepatitis C Task Force co-chair and Southern California regional director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “We will educate the public, honor key leaders and share the latest information on this disease through this important summit.”

The California Department of Corrections estimates that half of the female prison population and 40 percent of male prisoners are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Coinfection with HIV, especially among injection drug users, is a significant problem, with some estimates suggesting that as many as one-quarter of people with HIV are coinfected with HCV. HCV infection is more serious in HIV-infected persons, leading to liver damage more quickly and possibly affecting the treatment of HIV infection.

“Just as Los Angeles has a higher rate of HIV drug resistance than the national average, the City and County also have a higher rate of HIV/HCV coinfection,” said Brian Risley,
Task Force co-chair and lead treatment educator at AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Currently scheduled attendees include Assemblymember Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood), who will receive an award
for his work to combat hepatitis C through sound public policy.

The keynote address, from L.A. City AIDS Coordinator Stephen David Simon, will be followed by the following presentations:

Panel discussions on “Issues from the HCV Frontline” and “HCV/HIV Coinfection” will be led by experts from community-based organizations, consumers of services and leading researchers from USC and UCLA.

WHAT: 3rd Annual Summit on Hepatitis C

WHEN: Thursday, November 17, 2005. Registration begins at 8 AM; keynote address at 9:15 AM.

WHERE: Radisson Wilshire Plaza Hotel, 3515 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles 90010

SPONSORS: American Liver Foundation, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Drug Policy Alliance and Homeless Health Care Los Angeles.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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