CAPAC Members Observe World Hepatitis Day

Jul 26, 2019 Issues: Healthcare

Washington, DC — July 28, 2019 marks World Hepatitis Day, which is observed annually to raise global awareness about viral hepatitis and encourage the eradication of this disease. One in twelve Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders live with chronic hepatitis B and two-thirds 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:

“As chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am proud to join my colleagues in recognizing World Hepatitis Day. For far too long, hepatitis b has been the silent killer of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who account for over half of the 2.2 million people in the United States living with chronic hepatitis B. AAPIs are also 60 percent more likely to die from liver cancer, which is one of the primary results of an untreated Hepatitis B infection.

“Unfortunately, viral hepatitis continues to remain a global health challenge that impacts far too many worldwide. As we recognize World Hepatitis Day, let us recommit ourselves to ensuring that everyone gets tested and has access to the lifesaving treatment they need to finally put this silent killer to rest.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair and Co-Chair of the Congressional Hepatitis Caucus:  

“On World Hepatitis Day, we must reaffirm our commitment to raising awareness for and combating viral hepatitis, a disease that disproportionally affects Asian Americans. While approximately 1 in 12 Asian Americans suffer from chronic Hepatitis B, most are not aware of it. Of the 2.2 million people with chronic hepatitis B in the United States, the Asian American Pacific Islander community accounts for half of that number. As chair of the CAPAC Appropriations Task Force and co-chair of the Congressional Hepatitis Caucus, I have worked tirelessly to combat hepatitis. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I was proud to secure increased funding this year for the Center for Disease Control’s hepatitis programs. I am also proud to have reintroduced a resolution to recognize World Hepatitis Day, and express support for broad access to treatment for hepatitis patients. We must do all that we can in Congress to eradicate this disease.”

Congressman Ami Beri (CA-07), Healthcare Task Force Co-Chair:  

“As a doctor, I am proud to join my colleagues in recognizing World Hepatitis Day. While Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) make up only 5% of the US population, they account for more than 50% of Americans living with hepatitis B. World Hepatitis Day is a critical reminder for the need to raise awareness for this disease, which disproportionately impacts the AAPI community. Hepatitis B is a preventable disease and we must recommit to ensuring that all Americans have access to life saving treatments, including the Hepatitis B vaccine.”

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

“World Hepatitis Day reminds all of us to take our health into our own hands. Over 325 million people around the world currently have hepatitis, leading to 1.4 million deaths a year. As co-chair of CAPAC’s Health Task Force, I am committed to working with my colleagues to make sure that all Americans can stay healthy — especially the most vulnerable as well as communities of color. Congress must support community education, testing, and life-saving treatment for hepatitis, and I am proud to work together with my colleagues to eradicate this disease.”

Congressman TJ Cox (CA-21):

“Hepatitis B (HBV) is a silent chronic illness that, if left untreated, can lead to serious diseases such as cirrhosis, liver damage, and even liver cancer. While all communities are impacted by this chronic and often deadly disease Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are disproportionately impacted. While AAPIs make up less than 5% of the U.S. population, they comprise of over 50% of individuals living in the U.S. with HBV. World Hepatitis Day raises awareness about how HBV impacts our community and encourages the world community to continue to push for innovative solutions that provide adequate testing, education, and treatment for those who may be most affected by the disease. As a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am committed to supporting innovative ways to eradicate HBV, especially for those in the AAPI community.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17):

“Hepatitis disproportionally impacts communities of color, in particular the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Nearly one third of Americans today are unknowingly living with hepatitis B. I remain committed to raising awareness and supporting research funding so future generations will be better protected from this disease. I encourage everyone to get tested and stay healthy.”

Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05):

“This World Hepatitis Day, we bring attention to the fact that 400 million people across the globe live with hepatitis. According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 3 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are unaware of their chronic hepatitis B infection and I’m proud to join with my CAPAC colleagues to raise awareness of this critical community health issue. Together we can put an end to this destructive disease.”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.