Hawaii has an alarmingly
high rate of hepatitis B infection.
The virus affects Asians and
Pacific Islanders at a much higher rate than any other group. According to the
American Liver Foundation, an estimated one in ten Asian-Americans has
Local doctors are
encouraging people to get a simple blood test to know if they have the virus
even if they’ve been vaccinated in the past.
Dr. Naoky Tsai studies liver
disease and teaches at the University of Hawaii’s medical school.
He calls Hepatitis B a
“silent disease” because people can have the virus and feel fine until they
develop a serious complication like liver cancer.
There is no cure for
hepatitis B, but Dr. Tsai says there are many effective treatments and patients
can have a normal life span.
More information about
hepatitis B and its effect on the Asian community is available from the Asian
Liver Center at Stanford University, on the Web at liver.stanford.edu
(Aileen Humphreys / HPR News)