CAPAC Members Recognize World Hepatitis Day

Jul 28, 2017 Issues: Healthcare

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today is World Hepatitis Day, an opportunity to learn more about viral hepatitis. One in ten 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 released the following statements:

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

“Even though Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) account for approximately 6 percent of the total U.S. population, we account for over 50 percent of those living with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). If left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death. In fact, HBV is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths for AAPIs. The tragic thing is that this virus is both preventable and treatable. We must continue to emphasize the importance of getting tested, and ensure that individuals living with viral hepatitis have access to life-saving care and treatment. As we commemorate World Hepatitis Day, I remain committed to raising public awareness and working to eliminate this silent killer.”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono:

“Millions of Americans live with viral hepatitis, including nearly ten percent of all Asian American and Pacific Islanders who live with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and account for more than half of all HBV cases in the United States. Through increasing access to prevention and treatment resources, we can continue momentum toward eliminating this debilitating disease and end the battle against viral hepatitis.”

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

“As a doctor, viral hepatitis is a disease that affects millions of people across the globe, killing nearly 1.34 million people in 2015 – and those numbers are climbing. On World Hepatitis Day, I join my fellow CAPAC colleagues to highlight that this disease disproportionately impacts the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The challenge with hepatitis is that so many with the disease don’t know they are infected. World Hepatitis Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness, increase testing and diagnosis, and ensure that patients have access to the treatment they need. The United States plays a critical role in fighting global diseases and we must continue building momentum to eliminate viral hepatitis worldwide.”

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

“Over 400 million people around the world live with hepatitis, and 25% of those living with hepatitis are co-infected with HIV. As co-chair of CAPAC’s Health Care Task Force, I am working with my colleagues to ensure that all Americans are aware of their status and how to stay healthy. Today, on World Hepatitis Day, we must step up and protect the health of ourselves, our families, and our communities from this silent killer.”

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

“AAPIs are disproportionately affected by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer if left untreated. AAPIs account for more than 50% of HBV cases in the United States, though we make up only 6% of our total population, and we are 8-13 times more likely to develop liver cancer from the virus than other groups. We must continue to educate the AAPI community on the risks associated with the virus, as well as the importance of getting tested. I am proud to have introduced a resolution in Congress expressing support for World Hepatitis Day, and to have requested in appropriations legislation that the National Institute of Health intensify its current effort to find a cure for HBV. We won’t stop until we find a cure.” 

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40):

“As a CAPAC associate member and a co-chair of the Public Health Caucus, I know the debilitating and even deadly impact that hepatitis has on Americans, especially AAPIs and other minorities.  That is why, on this World Hepatitis Day, I recommit to doing all I can to raise awareness of hepatitis, and to prevent, treat, and eradicate this terrible disease.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“I join my CAPAC colleagues in observing World Hepatitis Day. This global ‘silent killer’ is responsible for causing liver disease, cancer, as well as an increasing number of deaths in virtually every community. As the Representative for an incredibly diverse district, I am especially concerned with how hepatitis impacts communities of color. Viral hepatitis affects Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) at a disproportionate rate; AAPIs comprise over half of the documented chronic hepatitis B infections. When such an adverse disease continues to pervade our communities, it is of utmost importance to prioritize our health in the form of spreading awareness, scheduling a screening, and educating ourselves on its harmful dangers in the fight to eradicate viral hepatitis.”

###

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.