NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The month of May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and the International Community Health Service (ICHS) wants to you take action, especially if you are part of the Asian American and immigrant communities.
Though we only make up 5 percent of the total U.S. population, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders account for half of Americans living with chronic hepatitis B infection. Two out of three are unaware of the health risk they carry.
Hepatitis B is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. Acute hepatitis B, a short-term illness, may make you sick with flu-like symptoms before you feel better. Without proper screening and diagnosis, chronic hepatitis B is a long-term ticking time bomb. An apparently healthy body can be infected for years, even decades. Left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis, liver damage, liver failure, or liver cancer.
May 19 is National Hepatitis Testing Day. ICHS offers hepatitis B screenings and immunizations at its clinic locations in the Chinatown-International District, Holly Park, Shoreline, and Bellevue. The results of the simple blood test will tell you whether you may be infected, protected, or still at risk for future infection.