Happy end of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month everyone!
Because it is AAPI Heritage Month, we would like to re-emphasize the significance of hepatitis B in Asian American populations:
Hepatitis B is naturally more commonly found in certain parts of the world, such as East Asia, Pacific Islands, and parts of Africa and Eastern Europe. Most people get hepatitis B at birth from their mothers who also had the disease. Unfortunately, the younger you are when you get hepatitis B, the more likely the disease will become chronic, and chronic hepatitis B can be undetected for years until you develop serious liver illnesses.
As of 2020, Asian Americans make up 6% of the total U.S. population, but account for over half of Americans living with chronic hepatitis B. Prevalence is also high in Pacific Islanders living in the U.S.
The good news is, the hepatitis B vaccination at birth has become very common, so we are seeing less new cases of hepatitis B in the world. In 2019, the World Health Organization that cases of hepatitis B in children under 5 years old have dropped below 1%, largely due to the increased use of vaccinations.
However, since it is more likely for older Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to be unknowingly infected with hepatitis B, it is important to have screening available to detect the virus before it causes serious liver damage.
Speaking of which, it has been an exciting time for DFW Hep B Free! We had our first screening since COVID began at the Vietnamese Baptist Church of Garland on 4/17 and also held our first Linkage to Care event on 5/15! It was so great to be able to back out in the DFW area collaborating with communities to raise awareness to hepatitis B. We are excited to start scheduling more screenings for the rest of the year!
If you would like to work with us to offer a screening in your community, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or message us on Facebook!
the DFW Hep B Free Officer Team