For immediate release

July 28, 2011

Press contact: Robin Nau (440) 554-6253; [email protected]

July 28 Worldwide Hepatitis Day: Raising hepatitis B awareness among Asian Americans

July 28, 2011 marks the 4th annual Worldwide Hepatitis Day, organized by the World Hepatitis Alliance and supported by the World Health Organization.  The Ohio Asian American Health Coalition (OAAHC) will join millions of people across the globe to recognize the serious impact of hepatitis B, a disease that disproportionately affects people of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) descent.

In Ohio it is estimated that between 14,000 and 16,000 APIs are living with hepatitis B and many are unaware of their status. Unlike conventional notion of hepatitis B transmission, API individuals are often infected by hepatitis B carrying mother passing it on to unborn child, or an infected family member unknowingly sharing personal hygiene instruments, like a toothbrush or razor with another family member.

According to the Stanford Asian Liver Center:

  • 50% of the current 1.3 million in the US 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

To mark this important day Mayor Michael Coleman of Columbus, Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland, and Mayor Don Plusquellic of Akron have all issued a proclamation declaring Worldwide Hepatitis Day in each of their cities.

“It’s important to raise awareness in Ohio about how hepatitis B is affecting our API community,” notes Dr. Yung-Chen Lu, Executive Committee member for OAAHC.  “More of our health care providers, law makers, and minority health champions need to be aware of the impact this disease has for Asian Americans and that it can be prevented.”

On July 28, OAAHC supports organizations around the world to raise awareness about hepatitis.  Translated education resources are available online for further information.

About Ohio Asian American Health Coalition
Envisioned in 2002, the Ohio Asian American Health Coalition is an alliance of communities and individuals focused on the health and well-being of Ohio’s Asian American population.  The mission of the OAAHC is to eliminate health disparities and to achieve health equity for Ohio’s Asian Americans by supporting community research, education, and advocacy.  For more information, please visit us at www.oahcoalition.org.

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