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  1. Minority Health and Health Equity

Asian Americans and Hepatitis B

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What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a viral infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causing inflammation of the liver. If left untreated, hepatitis B can cause scarring of the liver, liver failure, cancer, or even death.

Key Facts

Hepatitis B is Preventable

You can prevent hepatitis B by getting vaccinated before being exposed to the virus.

Know Your Status

If you think you've been exposed, ask your doctor to get tested.

Have Hepatitis B?

Talk to your doctor about starting an FDA-approved treatment regimen.

Asian Americans and Hepatitis B

  • 1 out of 12 Asian Americans are chronically infected with hepatitis B.
  • 2 out of 3 Asian Americans that are infected do not know they have the disease.

How is it Spread?

  • Having unprotected sex with an infected person
  • Sharing contaminated razors, toothbrushes, or needles
  • Coming into contact with infected blood (e.g. blood transfusions, open wounds)
  • Mother to baby during vaginal or cesarean birth

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Yellow eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • Clay-colored bowel movement and dark urine
  • Pain in the right side of the stomach
  • Joint pain

Treatment Options

For Children

  •  Intron A (interferon alpha-2b): Patients with chronic hepatitis B 1 year of age or older with compensated liver disease.
  • Hepsera (adefovir dipivoxil): Patients with chronic hepatitis B aged 12 years or older.

For Adults

  • Viread (tenofovir): Patients with chronic hepatitis B.
  • Vemlidy (tenofovir alafenamide): Patients with chronic hepatitis B with compensated liver disease.
  • Baraclude (entecavir): Patients with chronic hepatitis B with evidence of active viral replication.
  • Epivir HBV (lamivudine): Patients with chronic hepatitis B associated with HBV replication and active liver inflammation.
  • Pegasys (pegylated inteferon): Patients with HBeAg positive and HBeAg negative chronic hepatitis B who have compensated liver disease and evidence of viral replication and liver inflammation.
  • Tyzeka (telbivudine): Patients with chronic hepatitis B with evidence of viral replication and either evidence of persistent elevations in serum aminotransferases (ALT or AST) or histologically active disease.

Visit FDA's Hepatitis B and C Treatments page for a list of approved FDA therapies.

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