What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a serious infection of the liver caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), and can lead to premature death from cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver failure or liver cancer.
How is hepatitis B transmitted?
For Asians, HBV is commonly transmitted from a chronically infected mother to her child at birth. HBV can also be transmitted by coming in contact with infected blood and through unprotected sex.
Why should Asian and Pacific Islander Americans be aware of hepatitis B?
- Approximately 1 in 12 Asian Americans is infected with HBV.
- Without appropriate monitoring or treatment, 1 in 4 will die from liver cancer or liver failure.
- Although Asian Americans make up only 4% of the U.S. population, they account for over half of the estimated 1.25 million individuals with chronic HBV infection.
"If I have Hepatitis B, am I going to die from liver cancer or liver failure?"
People with chronic hepatitis B can lead completely normal and active lives. With regular testing and an ultrasound every year, liver disease can be detected early and treated quickly to prevent further damage, which will increase the probability of long-term survival.