The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched an action plan to fight viral hepatitis, according to an HHS statement. The plan seeks to raise awareness of the disease; to maximize effectiveness of prevention, testing, care and treatment; and to coordinate the involvement of governments, communities, nongovernmental organizations, health care providers and the private sector.

By 2020, the goals of the plan include: increase the number of people who are aware they have hepatitis B from 33 percent to 66 percent; increase the people who are aware they have hepatitis C from 45 percent to 66 percent; reduce new cases of hep C by 25 percent; and eliminate mother-to-child transmission of hep B.

The disease affects an estimated 3.5 million to 5.3 million people nationwide, and most of them are unaware of their status. Hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer.

To read the HHS statement, click here.