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Home > Global progress report on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections, 2021. Accountability for the global health sector strategies 2016–2021: actions for impact.

World Health Organization. (2021) Global progress report on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections, 2021. Accountability for the global health sector strategies 2016–2021: actions for impact. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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Together, HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs form a cluster of interlinked communicable diseases with common determinants of health, modes of transmission and high rates of coinfection, especially among populations most severely affected and at higher risk. This report publishes new estimates for hepatitis B and C viruses and for the four main STIs, providing a more accurate baseline for the forthcoming decade of progress towards eliminating them by 2030. 

Viral hepatitis accounts for a significant global disease burden and high mortality from liver cancer and cirrhosis. In 2019, 296 million people were living with chronic hepatitis B virus infection and 58 million people with chronic hepatitis C virus infection worldwide. New estimates show that about 1.5 million people newly acquire hepatitis B infection each year, despite the availability of a highly efficacious vaccine. About 1.5 million people newly acquire hepatitis C virus infection. Viral hepatitis caused 1.1 million deaths in 2019, 96% of which were caused by hepatitis B and C virus (5). Most of these deaths result from chronic liver disease and liver cancer. The greatest burden of hepatitis B and C infection is concentrated by geography and population, with 80% of the global burden of hepatitis C infection in the 10 most severely affected countries. People from economically disadvantaged regions, displaced people and migrants, and rural populations are more severely affected. Further, injecting drug use is a major contributor to the hepatitis C epidemic globally (6). Other affected population groups include health-care workers exposed through needle-stick injuries, people in prisons and closed settings, and gay men and other men who have sex with men.

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