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Know Hepatitis B: Testing for Asian Americans

Know Hepatitis B is the first multi-lingual campaign from US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) encouraging Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to get tested for Hepatitis B. AAPIs are disproportionately affected by Hepatitis B, and the campaign uses a variety of multi-media channels in English, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese to reach individuals in their native language. Know Hepatitis B was developed in partnership with Hep B United and leverages the community partners as part of a grassroots approach to promoting testing for Hepatitis B on a local level. This campaign was launched with support from the HHS Office of Minority Health, and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

What should Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders know about Hepatitis B?

1 in 12 Asians Americans and Pacific Islanders has Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is common in many parts of the world, with an estimated 350 million people living with the disease worldwide. In the United States, an estimated 1.2 million Americans are infected. However, Hepatitis B disproportionately affects Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders because it is especially common in many Asian and Pacific Island countries. While AAPIs make up less than 5% of the total U.S. population, they account for more than 50% of Americans living with chronic Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B can cause liver cancer

If left untreated, up to 25 percent of people with Hepatitis B develop serious liver problems such as cirrhosis and even liver cancer. In the US, chronic Hepatitis B infection results in thousands of deaths per year. Liver cancer caused by Hepatitis B is a leading cause of cancer deaths among Asian Americans.

2 in 3 Asian Americans with Hepatitis B don’t know they are infected

People can live with Hepatitis B without having any symptoms or feeling sick. As many as 2 in 3 AAPIs living with the virus do not know they are infected. Often, people do not know they have Hepatitis B until they have been tested. 

Hepatitis B can be prevented

A safe and effective vaccine is available, which prevents people from getting Hepatitis B. The vaccine is recommended for everyone at birth because Hepatitis B can be passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth, or from a family member to young children. Many people with chronic Hepatitis B got infected as infants or young children before the Hepatitis B vaccine was widely available. 

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)

Why is testing for Hepatitis B important?

Hepatitis B testing identifies people living with chronic Hepatitis B so they can get medical care, which can help prevent serious liver damage. Testing also helps find other people who may not have Hepatitis B, but are at risk for getting infected. This can include people living with someone with Hepatitis B. These people can get the vaccine to prevent getting Hepatitis B.

How to stay connected with Know Hepatitis B

  • Visit the Know Hepatitis B campaign materials page for access to posters, fact sheets, buttons, badges, radio and TV PSAs, and other resources to encourage testing for Hepatitis B.
  • Sign up for email updates from DC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis. These emails include a wide range of viral hepatitis related content, and will also include updates on the Know Hepatitis B campaign.
  • Follow @cdchep on Twitter to get updates on the Know Hepatitis B campaign and join the conversation about hepatitis.
  • Join our partners for a Twitter Chat on October 15 at 2 PM EST by using #KnowHepB. The chat will discuss the how community members, including Hep B United, are using the Know Hepatitis B campaign and raising awareness to get Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders tested for Hepatitis B. For updates on the Twitter Chat, visit our Stay Connected page.

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