Big Island Now (02.08.13)
Hawaii’s state health department partnered with Hep Free Hawaii to develop hepatitis information materials in the languages spoken by Chuukese, Marshallese, Samoan, Tongan, and Ilocano populations. The culturally appropriate “in-language” materials, funded through a grant from Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, focus on increased hepatitis awareness, prevention, testing, and treatment. The 2010 Census estimated that people of Asian Pacific Islander descent comprise more than half of Hawaii’s population. One in 10 U.S. Asian Pacific Islanders have hepatitis B, in comparison to one in 1,000 persons in the general US population.
According to Thaddeus Pham, coordinator of adult viral hepatitis prevention for Hawaii’s Department of Health, hepatitis B and C are “silent epidemics” because hepatitis-infected people often show no symptoms for years. Pham estimated that 1 to 3 percent of Hawaiians have hepatitis B, with 23,000 Hawaiians living with hepatitis C. Hawaii has the highest rate of liver cancer in the country.
The public can download free hepatitis in-language information materials from http://www.hepfreehawaii.org/ or e-mail requests for printed copies to email@example.com