Reducing Viral Hepatitis Disparities Among African Americans

Reducing Viral Hepatitis Disparities Among African Americans

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, and Director, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

As we observe African American History Month, we are also working to raise awareness of the silent epidemic of viral hepatitis in the Black community. You may have seen the blog post earlier this month by my colleague Dr. Nadine Gracia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health. She highlighted some of the troubling viral hepatitis disparities in the African American community, recognizing the need for more education, screening and linkage to treatment and care.

Learn the Facts

The first step to reducing these disparities is increasing awareness about viral hepatitis:

Hepatitis B and C are liver diseases caused by viruses.

Anyone can get hepatitis B or hepatitis C, but African Americans bear a disproportionate burden of disease.

Most people living with viral hepatitis do not know they are infected.

Chronic hepatitis infections cause liver damage, liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer, often with no symptoms.

Hepatitis B can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine.

Both hepatitis B and C viruses can be transmitted through exposure to blood or through sex.

Getting a simple blood test is the only way to know if you have been exposed to viral hepatitis.

Treatments exist for both hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

To read the full blog click Here