Hep B Blog

Tag Archives: Hepatitis Awareness Month

One in Three People Worldwide Has Had Hepatitis B, So Why Do We Feel So Alone?

Volunteers from the Rann India Foundation teach villagers about hepatitis B testing and prevention in India.
Volunteers from the Rann India Foundation teach villagers about hepatitis B testing and prevention in India.

By Christine Kukka

Hepatitis B is the global pandemic no one talks about, yet one in three people worldwide has been infected. In 2013, hepatitis B and C together was the seventh-leading cause of death worldwide, with hepatitis B causing 780,000 deaths annually.

Today, 257 million people have chronic hepatitis B. Despite the availability of an effective vaccine, the number of people living with hepatitis B virus is projected to remain at the current, unacceptably high level for decades and cause 20 million deaths through 2030.

How can this happen? Viral hepatitis infection and death rates far outstrip that of ebola and zika. In fact, you have to combine the death toll from HIV and tuberculosis to find human suffering on par with what viral hepatitis causes around the world each year. Continue reading "One in Three People Worldwide Has Had Hepatitis B, So Why Do We Feel So Alone?"

Twitter Chat: Partner Highlights From Hepatitis Awareness Month

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Join Hep B United, the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, and the Hepatitis B Foundation for a Twitter #HepChat Wednesday, June 15 at 2 p.m. EDT. The chat will highlight Hepatitis Awareness Month outreach events and allow hepatitis B and C partner organizations to share their successes, challenges, and lessons learned from their efforts.

Continue reading "Twitter Chat: Partner Highlights From Hepatitis Awareness Month"

Celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, And Get Tested for Hepatitis B

Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The month of May was selected in 1978 to mark the first major Japanese immigration to the United States (May 7, 1843), and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (May 10, 1869), built primarily by Chinese immigrants.

Like all immigrants, Asians and Pacific Islanders brought with them unique cultures, languages, and lingering health problems from their homeland, including hepatitis B.

This blood-borne infection, unknowingly passed from mother-to-child, is an infection without a cure that would impact Asian immigrants and their children for decades until a vaccine was developed.

Today, administration of the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine along with a dose of HBIG within 12 hours of birth severs this viral legacy and protects newborns from inheriting this infection. But that is not the end of the story. There are still many Asian-Americans who remain infected, and many Asian immigrants arriving today live with hepatitis B.

An estimated one in 12 Asian-Americans currently has hepatitis B, and two in three don’t know they are infected. Their infection rate is more than 20 times higher than that of the total U.S. population. Hepatitis B is the greatest health disparity between Asian-Americans and the general U.S. population. Approximately 1 million Asian-Americans are living with chronic hepatitis B infection – that’s about half of all cases in the United States. Continue reading "Celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, And Get Tested for Hepatitis B"

It’s Hepatitis Awareness Month: Five Reasons We Don’t Get Tested, and How to Overcome Them

Members of Drexel University's Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association participate in a hepatitis B screening program at a Chinese Christian church in Philadelphia.
Members of Drexel University’s Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association participate in a hepatitis B screening program at a Chinese Christian church in Philadelphia.

May is Hepatitis Awareness month. Why do we need an annual reminder about hepatitis B? Because 65 percent of the estimated 2.2 million people in the U.S. living with hepatitis B don’t know they’re infected.

Studies show when people know their hepatitis B status, they’re more likely to get monitored regularly, get treatment, and take steps to avoid passing on the disease to partners and their children.

So why are so many Americans unaware of their hepatitis B infection? Here are five roadblocks that stop us from getting tested for hepatitis B, and what how we can do to overcome them.

We feel fine, so we assume we’re not infected. Hepatitis B rarely causes symptoms. There are very few sensory nerves around the liver, so when a viral hepatitis infection strikes, we rarely feel its effects. As a result, most of us – especially if we were infected as children or newborns – never experience any symptoms for decades. So remember, “feeling OK” is no excuse to avoid testing. Continue reading "It’s Hepatitis Awareness Month: Five Reasons We Don’t Get Tested, and How to Overcome Them"

Make a Vine Video with #HepBUnite for the 2016 Hepatitis B Awareness Campaign!

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How do you unite for hepatitis B?      VINE TO WIN!

 

Join Hep B United for a national hepatitis B awareness campaign. Create an action-oriented awareness message about hepatitis B through a six-second Vine ​video! Hep B United will use selected video entries in its social media efforts in May 2016 to help promote Hepatitis Awareness Month. Your video could be included in its national awareness campaign!

Eligibility: ​Anyone and everyone may participate! You do not have to be a member of Hep B United or any organization.

What to Do: ​Use Vine to create a six-second ​video (click for example) focusing on the 2016 theme “#HepBUnite: How you unite for hepatitis B.” You can create your video alone, or with a group. Your message should focus on how you are united around hepatitis B. You could highlight hepatitis B prevention activities that you participate in, or feature a key fact about hepatitis B in your video. Although not required, Hep B United encourages you to use the materials available from the Know Hepatitis B campaign!

How to Enter:

  1. Between April 11 and April 29, post your video to either Vine, Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to include the hashtag “​ #hepbunite”​ and tag @HepBUnited.
  2. Submit your video link with your name and contact information by e-mail to connect@hepbunited.org​.

Contest Entry Requirements

  1. Each video must be original.
  2. Each video must include the hashtag ​“#hepbunite” and tag @HepBUnited on Twitterand/or Facebook in order to track the videos.
  3. Videos should not include any material that would require the consent of any third party or violate any copyright, privacy right, or any other right of a third party. If used, Know Hepatitis B campaign materials should be used in their entirety and retain the CDC and HBU logos.
  4. Submissions including offensive language, imagery or themes will be excluded from the competition.

Be Creative and Have Fun!

  • Be creative to get across your hepatitis B awareness message!
  • Need inspiration? Looking for video ideas? Consider “linking arms,” “flexing your muscles to combat hep B,” “running in a group,” “group high five,” or “shout out with office staff/community groups!”
  • Check out the ​Hep B United or ​Know Hepatitis B Campaign website for background statistics and resources you can use!

Selection of Winners and Prizes

  • Selected videos will be included in the 2016 May Hepatitis Awareness Month Hep B United social media campaign.
  • Selected videos will be included in the creation of additional materials promoting hepatitis B awareness around the U.S.
  • Three finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges as best exemplifying the 2016 #HepBUnite theme.
  • A Grand Prize winner will be chosen from the three finalists and will win $100. The two remaining finalists will each win $50.
  • The finalists will be notified by email, and the grand prize winning video will be revealed to the public in mid-May through social media and press releases.

Selected entries will be included in the Hep B United social media campaign! Two finalists will win $50 each!
One Grand Prize winner will win $100!

Submission Period: Post and submit your Vines between
April 11 and April 29, 2016, (contest closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 29)

Questions? Please contact Pavitri Dwivedi at ​Pavitri.Dwivedi@hepb.org

Get Tested for Liver Cancer, Your Life May Depend on It

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month. It may be a sleeper of a event when compared to other health campaigns, but for us who live with viral hepatitis, it’s an uncomfortable but critical reminder of the importance of monitoring our liver health to prevent cancer.

Viral hepatitis, especially B and C, are viral infections that can cause liver cancer  (also called hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC.) Researchers are still studying why some people are more prone to liver cancer, but we who live with chronic hepatitis B or C have a 25 to 40 percent lifetime risk of developing liver cancer. The infection, which hijacks our liver cells to manufacture more virus, causes inflammation, scarring and even cancer as the liver cells grow out of control.

The longer we are infected with viral hepatitis, the higher our risk of developing liver cancer. While liver cancer often occurs in people with cirrhosis (severe liver scarring), some of us develop cancer without cirrhosis. Continue reading "Get Tested for Liver Cancer, Your Life May Depend on It"

Do You Know Your Hepatitis Facts from Fiction?

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May is Hepatitis Awareness Month!

In recognition of May as Hepatitis Awareness Month, Liver Cancer Connect reviews some important facts and dangerous fiction about chronic hepatitis B and C- the world’s leading causes of liver cancer.  Continue reading "Do You Know Your Hepatitis Facts from Fiction?"

HBF and HBUP’s Hepatitis B Awareness Raising Event at the Philadelphia Art Museum

 

What a great hepatitis B awareness raising event for the Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) and Hep B United Philadelphia (HBUP). The event took place at on the “Rocky Steps” of the Philadelphia Art Museum.  Participants including student volunteers, community leaders and health care professionals were dressed in their super hero t-shirts and red capes for their run up the steps to raise HBV awareness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hep B Heroes joined Philadelphia Councilman David Oh as he presented a city council resolution to eliminate Hepatitis B in the City of Philadelphia.

 

A special guest appearance was made by HBF’s own mascot, O’Liver B Hepatitis. In the past, O’Liver has appeared at numerous public events, and he was thrilled to step up and raise HBV awareness on the Rocky Steps.

 

 

 

 

 

Multicultural dancers get a thumbs up from O’Liver as he and other participants enjoy their performance on the steps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B A Hero. B sure. Get Tested. Get vaccinated…

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Mother’s Day by Breaking the Cycle of Hepatitis B Transmission From Mother to Baby

Great blog written by Corinna Dan, RN, MPH, Viral Hepatitis Policy Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, HHS , discussing the strategy to eliminate perinatal transmission of hepatitis B in the U.S. In many parts of the world, transmission from an HBV infected mother to her baby is the most common mode of transmission.  If you are a pregnant woman, please ask your doctor to screen you for hepatitis B. If you learn you have hepatitis B, talk to your doctor to be sure your baby receives appropriate prophylaxis within 12 hours of birth so you can break the cycle of transmission from mother to baby. Happy Mothers Day! 

Eliminating Perinatal Transmission of Hepatitis B: More Than Just a Test 

Hepatitis B in the U.S.

Nationally, new hepatitis B infections have been reduced by 82% since 1991 because of the availability of safe and effective vaccines, as well as improved prevention in healthcare settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis B infection. Unfortunately, many of these people became infected before the widespread availability of the hepatitis B vaccine in the early 1980s. Most are unaware of their infection, which places them at greater risk for severe complications of the disease, and for transmitting the virus to others. For women of childbearing age, this lack of awareness also increases the likelihood of transmitting hepatitis B to their infants.

Perinatal hepatitis B – spread from an infected mother to her infant at the time of birth – is estimated to account for 800-1,000 new infections each year in the United States. Unfortunately, this number of annual new, preventable infections has remained unchanged in recent years, which is why the elimination of mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis B is one of the main goals of the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis. As the Plan observes, the persistent annual number of perinatal hepatitis B cases is particularly concerning because approximately 90% of HBV-infected newborns develop chronic infection; up to 25% of these children will die of cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer later in life.

Tackling Perinatal Hepatitis B

To achieve the goal of eliminating perinatal HBV, the Action Plan calls for the provision of postexposure prophylaxis (i.e., hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine) to all infants born to HBV-infected women, a strategy consistent with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in its “Comprehensive Immunization Strategy to Eliminate Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus Infection in the United States.” This recommended treatment is to be provided within 12 hours of birth followed by timely completion of the rest of the three-dose hepatitis B vaccine series, to prevent the infant from contracting hepatitis B. The Action Plan and ACIP also observe that care coordination is needed to ensure that infants born to HBV-infected women receive the services needed to protect them against hepatitis B.

A vital partner in these efforts to eliminate mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis B is CDC’s Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP) which supports activities in all 50 states, six cities, and five territories. The PHBPP was established in collaboration with state/local health departments and healthcare providers to promote use of the available tools – prenatal testing and vaccines – to reduce perinatal HBV transmission. The program works to identify pregnant women who are infected and provides case management services to ensure that infants receive the appropriate vaccines after birth to help prevent perinatal transmission. This program has been successful, ensuring that 95% of the identified infants born to infected mothers and case managed by the program received hepatitis B immune globulin and the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine within one day of birth and 83% of these infants complete the hepatitis B series by 12 months of age. In addition, whenever possible, the mother is counseled about hepatitis B and encouraged to talk with her healthcare provider for a full HBV evaluation. The program also seeks to identify household and sexual contacts of women who test HBV-positive – CDC reports that in 2011 the programs identified 9,681 such contacts – providing prevention information and recommending screening.

Despite these successful outcomes, challenges remain; the PHBPP estimates it identifies and case manages only about half of the expected births to hepatitis B infected women annually. Although hepatitis B screening is recommended for all pregnant women as part of routine prenatal care, not all women are screened. Some women do not seek or remain in prenatal care. In other cases, even when HBV screening occurs, health departments are not informed of screening results that reveal a pregnant woman is infected with hepatitis B – in some cases this is because such reporting is not required in that jurisdiction, in other cases it is an error or oversight. Under these circumstances, the health department cannot connect the expectant mother and her family to the services available through the PHBPP.

Another key support to efforts to eliminate perinatal HBV transmission is the implementation of provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will help improve prenatal hepatitis B screening. Under the Affordable Care Act, the hepatitis B test for pregnant women is among the Preventive Services that new health insurance plans issued after September 23, 2010 are required to cover without the consumer having to pay a copayment or co-insurance or meet her deductible. By making hepatitis screening more widely accessible and eliminating cost barriers, the healthcare law will also help bring us closer to the Action Plan’s goal of eliminating perinatal transmission of HBV.

In order to further reduce the number of infants who are perinatally infected with hepatitis B, healthcare providers, practices, and hospitals that care for pregnant women need to increase awareness and efforts to accurately report hepatitis B-infected pregnant women and refer the families to the PHBPP.

What Can Healthcare Providers Do?

Healthcare providers play a key role in eliminating perinatal hepatitis B. Steps that healthcare providers can take include:

  • Ensure that your practice is collaborating with the public health department to report women who are chronically infected so that their infants can benefit from case management. The CDC viral hepatitis reporting form [PDF 46KB] is available online.
  • Educate your patients about hepatitis B and listen to their concerns; the CDC has great educational materials available for patients.
  • Work with your local hospitals and birthing centers to ensure that they are following recommended policies and procedures.
  • Reach out to your state/local Perinatal Hepatitis B Coordinator if you have any questions or need additional assistance to implement the CDC recommendations.

What Can Pregnant Women Do?

  • Ask your healthcare provider if you were tested for hepatitis B and what the result of the test was.
  • Learn more about hepatitis B to make sure your new infant receives the preventive services needed to prevent hepatitis B infection at birth and throughout your child’s life.
  • If you learn that you are living with hepatitis B, check out the CDC’s frequently asked questions and talk with your healthcare provider to find out what you should do to stay healthy and ensure that you will be there to nurture and watch your child grow.

On this Mother’s Day during Hepatitis Awareness Month, please take the opportunity to learn more about hepatitis B and what steps you can take to realize the goal of eliminating mother-to-infant transmission of this preventable disease.

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