May 19: World Hepatitis Day

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 is World Hepatitis Day and the month of May is also Hepatitis Awareness Month. The day was launched in response to the concern that chronic viral hepatitis has not received the level of awareness among the community as seen with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This is despite the fact that significant numbers Asian Americans and others in Ohio who are chronically infected with, and annually killed by, the hepatitis B.

How did World Hepatitis Day start?
For many years, groups around the world have held hepatitis awareness activities on various dates throughout the year. 2008 marks the first year that groups from all over the world came together to recognize World Hepatitis Day on the same day – May 19th.

Facts about Hep B and Asian Americans
According to the Stanford Asian Liver Center:
• 50% of the current 1.3 million in the nation with hepatitis B are Asian Americans
• 1 out of 10 Asian Americans carry hepatitis B
• Asian Americans are 100 times more likely to be chronic carriers
• Asian Americans are 4 times more likely to die from hepatitis B

Ohio has 159,776 Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA). It is estimated that 14,000 to 16,000 APIA are living with hepatitis B in Ohio and many are unaware of their status. Unlike conventionally notion of hepatitis B transmission, APIA are often infected by hepatitis B carrying mother passing it on to unborn child or infected family member unknowingly sharing personal hygiene instruments, like a toothbrush or razor with another family member.

Important Web Links , the official website for the global education and awareness event, site has valuable information about hepatitis B and Asian Americans

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