CAPAC Members Mark World Hepatitis Day

Jul 28, 2020 Issues: Healthcare

Washington, D.C. – Today marks World Hepatitis Day, which is observed annually to raise global awareness about viral hepatitis and encourage the eradication of this disease, which disproportionately impacts the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population. One in twelve AAPIs live with chronic hepatitis B and one third of those who are infected are not aware of their status. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) issued the following statements:

 

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Like far too many in our community, I have lost loved ones to hepatitis. That is why World Hepatitis Day is such an important time for the AAPI community to spread awareness about a disease that disproportionately impacts us. While AAPIs account for 7% of the total U.S. population, we account for over 50% of the 862,000 Americans living with chronic hepatitis B. But the good news is that we can fight back.

“That starts with education and preparation, which is what World Hepatitis Day is about. I encourage everyone at risk to get tested. Prompt identification of the infection is essential to ensure people receive necessary treatment to prevent liver disease and to prevent transmission to others. And of course, we need to make the investments in healthcare that will allow us to eradicate viral hepatitis. Today, let us recommit ourselves to preventing and ending this silent killer once and for all.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“As co-chair of the Congressional Hepatitis Caucus, I am proud to join my CAPAC colleagues in recognizing World Hepatitis Day. Currently, an estimated 5.7 million people are living with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV). Despite its prevalence, awareness is low: close to three quarters of the population infected with HBV or HCV are unaware of their condition, and therefore go without the necessary, life-saving treatment they require. Furthermore, HBV disproportionately affects Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who account for over half of HBV cases, but make up only 7% of the population in the United States. It is crucial that we dedicate increased resources to this disease, ensure that everyone is tested, and broaden access to care. Viral hepatitis remains a global health challenge for too many, and Congress must commit to eradicating this disease.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“Today, I join my CAPAC colleagues in raising awareness about viral hepatitis, a disease that disproportionately impacts Asian Americans. Despite making up only 7% of the U.S. population, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) account for more than 50% of Americans living with chronic hepatitis B. Approximately one-third of AAPIs are unaware of their chronic infection, which, if left untreated, can lead to serious liver disease, liver damage and even liver cancer. On World Hepatitis Day, we reaffirm our commitment to eliminating barriers to testing and ensure every American has access to the hepatitis B vaccine and other lifesaving treatments.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Healthcare Task Force Co-Chair: 

“On World Hepatitis Day, we are all tasked with renewing our commitment to taking our health into our own hands, as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In my capacity as the co-chair of CAPAC’S health task force, I work diligently with my colleagues to ensure everyone—including communities of color and the most vulnerable—have the resources they need to stay educated, stay safe, and stay healthy. Our fight to eradicate this harmful disease continues.”

 

Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03):

“In the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, hepatitis is a silent killer. One in twelve AAPI Americans live with chronic hepatitis B, while two-thirds of those infected are not aware of their status. Awareness is so critical to prevention and treatment. That is why, as a member of Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I will continue to push for greater awareness and better treatment and prevention of hepatitis for Americans, and particularly in AAPI communities. We should understand now better than ever that combating disease requires coordinated, comprehensive action from our communities and our government, and hepatitis is no different.”