Fighting Hepatitis B

Woman suffering from Hepatitis B cancer

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – One in 10 Asians is infected by the liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus, according to the World Health Organization, and even among Asian-Americans the infection is prevalent.

It is a disease marked by inflammation of the liver and jaundice, usually shows no obvious symptoms, and can affect anyone.

The highest risks, however, are people born to a mother with Hepatitis B, those who live with someone who has the virus, those who have lived in parts of the world where Hepatitis B is common, such as Asia, and people who are exposed to blood or bodily fluids at work.

People on hemodialysis,  those who have had multiple sex partners, or have a history of sexually transmitted disease.

In an effort to stem the tide of infection among Asian-Americans, particularly in the Filipino-American communities around the country, an educational and screening campaign is underway.

In Las Vegas, the project called “Juan B-Free” will conduct a health screening today, Saturday, July 28, at Seafood City on 3890 S. Maryland Parkway.

The free screenings, conducted with the cooperation of Quest Labs, will be from noon to 5 p.m.

“It is important for us to protect our families and community by being aware of how we can stay healthy, ” said Rozita Lee, a commissioner of the While House Commission on Asian and Pacific Islanders. “By educating our families about the danger and treatment of Hepatitis B, we ensure that our communities stay informed, healthy, and vibrant.”

The educational campaign and screenings are sponsored by the ABS CBN Foundation International under its project, “Juan B Free, in partnership with Quest Laboratory, Las Vegas Gastroenterology (LVG) and Gilead. Other sponsors are the Asian Journal and the National Federation for Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).

Noel Fajardo of LVG and Amie Belmonte of NaFFAA will join Lee and the ABS CBN Foundation International team at the screenings.

The screenings will also coincide with the global observation of World Hepatitis Day on July 28, 2012, and the worldwide fight against Hepatitis B.

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