World Hepatitis Day July 28
Hepatitis B is a serious infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), and can lead to premature death from liver failure or liver cancer. Dubbed a “silent killer,” HBV often infects people without symptoms, and when symptoms do appear, it is often too late for treatment to be effective. Liver cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat, but early detection by regular screening can lead to successful surgical removal and long-term survival. Furthermore, a simple 3-shot hepatitis B vaccine can provide lifelong protection against HBV.
However, even with an available vaccine, about 350 million individuals worldwide still live with a chronic infection of HBV. Furthermore, according to the Boston Public Health Commission, chronic hepatitis B disproportionately affects Asian-Americans in the greater Boston area. Although Asians represent less than 10% of the total population in Boston, they account for greater than 50% of new chronic hepatitis B cases. As many as 1 in 10 Asians is living with chronic HBV infection, making hepatitis B a salient issue for Cambridge and Greater Boston with a growing Asian population.
What can YOU do to fight the spread of hepatitis B and C?
1. Talk to your primary health care provider or visit a local free clinic and ask about hepatitis B testing and vaccination. Local clinics include South Cove Community Health Center (Link: http://www.scchc.org/Locations/Locations.htm) and the Sharewood Project in Malden (http://www.sharewood.info/).
2. Tell your family and friends! Visit the websites of TeamHBV (http://teamhbv.org/content/faq) or World Hepatitis Alliance (http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/Home.aspx) for more information.
Link to Facts about Hepatitis B