1 in 10 Asian-Americans Have Hepatitis B

Do you have Hepatitis B? Did you know that 1 in 10 Asian-Americans have Hep B. Chronic hepatitis B is known as a “silent killer” because it can slowly destroy the liver over time without causing noticeable symptoms. As the world’s leading cause of liver cancer, HBV is second only to tobacco among known human carcinogens. Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent experience the greatest burden of the disease in the United States. Although Asian Americans comprise only 5 percent of the U.S. population, they represent more than half of the estimated 1.4 to 2 million people chronically infected with hepatitis B in this country.

“The disproportionate impact of chronic hepatitis B among Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent is one of the most serious – but frequently overlooked – racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States,” said Dr. Garth N. Graham, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. “Because of their high hepatitis B rates, Asian Americans are nearly three times more likely to develop primary liver cancer than Americans of non-Asian descent.”

Hepatitis B can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. Yet alarmingly, as many as two-thirds of Asian Americans living with the disease do not know they are infected. The new PSA, noting that one in ten Asian Americans has hepatitis B, asks “Could you be one of them?” Viewers are encouraged to visit www.hepb.org, where information about the disease is available in several Asian languages.


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