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Press Room

CALENDAR LISTING

A CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING ON HEPATITIS B
Zero Tolerance for Hepatitis B: the Health Needs of Women and Children

Sponsored by Hepatitis B Foundation, in collaboration with Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations to raise awareness about hepatitis B as an urgent public health priority and improve the care of the 2 million Americans living with chronic hepatitis B.

  Date: Tuesday May 20, 2008
  Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm
  Location: Room HC-6 of the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, DC
  Cost: FREE

Everyone is welcome to attend this Free Congressional Briefing in recognition of National Hepatitis B Awareness Week May 19-23, 2008 and World Hepatitis Day!

SPECIAL GUESTS

    • Congressmen Mike Honda (CA) and Congressmen Charles Dent (PA)

MODERATORS

    • Timothy M. Block, Ph.D., Co-Founder and President, Hepatitis B Foundation and Professor, Drexel University School of Medicine
    • Jeffrey Caballero, MPH, Executive Director, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)

SPECIAL SPEAKERS

    • . California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma
      Her Personal and Professional Fight Against Hepatitis B
    • Lucy, Financial Analyst, U.S. Small Business Administration
      Sharing Her Family’s Struggle with Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer

EXPERT SPEAKERS

    • Mack Mitchell, M.D., Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
    • Kathleen Schwarz, M.D., Director, Pediatric Liver Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    • Chong Gee Teo, M.D., Ph.D, Chief, Laboratory Branch, Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

SPECIAL SPEAKER

    • Ted Fang, Editor and Publisher, AsianWeek, and Director, AsianWeek Foundation Committee member of the San Francisco Hep B Free campaign

ABOUT THE BRIEFING
The Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF), in collaboration with the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), is sponsoring the Congressional briefing titled “Zero Tolerance for Hepatitis B: the Health Needs of Women and Children”. The theme, selected in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), brings attention to the gaps in meeting the health needs of mothers infected with hepatitis B and the prevention of hepatitis B in all newborns.

The Congressional briefing will call for a “zero tolerance” policy of leaving pregnant women with chronic hepatitis B uneducated about the vital need for medical attention. U.S. guidelines require that all pregnant women be tested for hepatitis B to avoid the risk of infecting their newborns. Although there are formal recommendations to educate and refer infected pregnant women to care, there are limited resources for health departments to implement them and to help patients access care. To ensure the health of chronically infected women and to break the cycle of infection from mother to newborn, more resources are needed to implement the current national guidelines.

Additionally, there will be a call for a “zero tolerance” policy for hepatitis B infections in all infants. “Hepatitis B is the deadliest disease that can be prevented through infant vaccination,” according to Dr. John Ward, Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis, CDC.”

In the U.S., an estimated 20,000 babies are born each year to women with hepatitis B (55% of whom are of Asian descent) and up to 1,500 of these newborns are chronically infected at birth. Of these infected newborns, up to 25% will die prematurely of liver failure or liver cancer.

Today, with the availability of a safe vaccine and six approved therapies for chronic hepatitis B, no woman or child should be left behind.

The Hepatitis B Foundation and AAPCHO briefing is being held to commemorate May 19-23, 2008 as “National Hepatitis B Awareness Week”. The briefing will also support the National Hepatitis B Act re-introduced by Congressmen Honda and Dent, and advocate for increased federal funding for hepatitis B programs at the CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis and the National Institutes of Health. 

KEY MESSAGES

  • The incidence of chronic hepatitis B is underestimated in the U.S. by almost one million people.
  • The increasing burden of chronic hepatitis B – which causes liver cancer, the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. – is a public health threat to all Americans.
  • Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection that can be prevented and controlled through effective immunization and treatment.
  • Increased public health attention and federal resources are needed to improve and expand currently available hepatitis B prevention, treatment and research programs.

ABOUT THE HEPATITIS B FOUNDATION
The Hepatitis B Foundation is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected with hepatitis B worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. The Foundation is located in the new Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, which it created to expand and accelerate its research mission. For more information, visit www.hepb.org or call (215) 489-4900.

Page last modified October 21, 2009

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