Friday, May 16, 2014

Hepatitis B

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month. One in in 12 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is common worldwide, especially in many parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. In the US, Hepatitis B disproportionately affects Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). While AAPIs make up less than 5% of the U.S. population, they account for more than 50% of Americans living with Hepatitis B. 

Hepatitis B is serious, but treatments are available.

Left untreated, nearly 1 in 4 people living with hepatitis B develop serious liver problems, even liver cancer. In fact, Hepatitis B-related liver cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths among Asian Americans. Getting tested for Hepatitis B can help many people access lifesaving treatments that can prevent serious liver damage.

Two in three Asian Americans with Hepatitis B don't know they are infected.

People can live with Hepatitis B for decades without having any symptoms or feeling sick. Hepatitis B is spread when blood or other body fluid infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected. This can happen through multiple ways, including getting Hepatitis B from an infected mother at birth or from a family member as a young child. Many AAPIs living with Hepatitis B got infected as infants or young children. Testing is the only way to know if someone has Hepatitis B.

Who should get tested for Hepatitis B?
  • Anyone born in Asia or the Pacific Islands (except New Zealand and Australia)
  • Anyone born in the United States, who was not vaccinated at birth, and has at least one parent born in East or Southeast Asia (except Japan) or the Pacific Islands (except New Zealand and Australia).
Hepatitis B testing identifies people living with Hepatitis B so they can get medical care to help prevent serious liver damage. Talk to a health care provider about getting tested for Hepatitis B. 

For more information, see: or 

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