Watch our Hepatitis B Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring our community partners!
Hepatitis B is a serious global health problem that affects Asians disproportionately. Of the 2 billion people infected with the hepatitis B virus worldwide, more than 350 million have chronic (lifelong) infections. Chronically infected persons are at high risk for cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure, diseases that kill about 1 million persons each year. Chronic hepatitis B infection is present in 5% to 15% of Asians living in the Chicago area (rates vary by ethnic group), far higher than the 1%-2% prevalence of chronic hepatitis B infection in the general U.S. population. Fortunately, Hepatitis B is preventable with safe and effective vaccines for children and adults. Early detection through screening is key for preventing the onset of serious liver disease in those who are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus.
Emerging from such need is the Chicago based Hepatitis Education and Prevention & Immunization Program (HEPP) initiated by the Asian Health Coalition in 1997 to:
Improve hepatitis B immunization rates among Asian and Pacific Islander children from birth to 18 years;
Raise public awareness of hepatitis risk factors
Reduce the incidence of liver disease and cancer through early recognition of chronic infection
Provide health professionals with up-to-date guidelines for diagnosis and treatment.
In 2000, the program’s mission expanded to include prevention of childhood communicable diseases through education and vaccine promotion. The program is community-based, providing education to Asian and African immigrants and refugees in their native languages by lay health educators who are trained and supervised by AHC.
The program is currently funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health. Gilead Sciences and the Uptown Neighborhood Health Center are also providing additional support for the program’s screening and immunization events.
For more information regarding this project, please contact Matt Johnson at (312) 372-7070 ext. 230, or firstname.lastname@example.org.