Health Center News, Uncategorized

Community Health Centers and the Fight Against Hepatitis B

By Amy Simmons Farber

May is Hepatitis B Awareness Month — a good time to spread awareness about the dangers of the virus and how to prevent it.   With that in mind the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) has created a hepatitis B information resource to help raise awareness about hepatitis B and reduce its impact on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander (AA&NHOPI) communities who are disproportionately affected. You can learn more by visiting this link.  

Though hepatitis is a leading cause of death in the U.S., many people who have it don’t know they are infected, so they are at greater risk for severe – or even fatal – complications of the disease, and at greater risk of unwittingly spreading the virus to others. 

 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is committed to ensuring that new cases of viral hepatitis are prevented and that persons who are already infected are tested, informed about their infection, and provided with counseling, care, and treatment.  That is why officials from HHS,  AAPCHO, and AAPCHO’s member health center, Charles B Wang are unveiling an action plan against the virus next week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. 

“Hepatitis B unfortunately is still a health disparity in our community, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine,” said Jeffrey Caballero, executive director at AAPCHO. “In order to make inroads, we need to continue educating policymakers, the media and federal and local agencies, and developing culturally and linguistically appropriate programs to eradicate this disease.”

And this is what Community Health Centers do best — reach out to communities and provide access to early screenings and treatment.