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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
NEW JERSEY: Holy Name Will Screen 2,000 for Hepatitis B

Barbara Williams

November 26, 2012 (11.24.12)

Health officials have stated that as the Asian-American population grows in North Jersey, the potential number of cases of liver disease from hepatitis B, including cancer, is also increasing. Dr. Chul S. Hyun, a gastroenterologist and medical director of the Asian Liver Center at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J., stated that hepatitis B is 4 to 10 times more likely to be diagnosed in Asians than in whites in the United States, though experts do not know why. Health officials say awareness programs are the key to controlling the virus. The Gilead Foundation has provided the Asian Liver Center with a grant of $75,000 to screen approximately 2,000 Asians for hepatitis B over the next 12 months, as part of an awareness campaign. The center will vaccinate those who have not already been vaccinated and are not carrying the virus, and the center will give carriers antiviral medications to prevent serious damage from the virus. Hepatitis B is not curable. The Asian center is part of the Korean Medical Program at Holy Name, which draws patients from New Jersey and areas with high Korean-American populations, such as Flushing, N.Y. Kyung-Hee Choi, director of the program, declares that through the Hepatitis B Awareness Campaign, health professionals are able to reach out to uninsured and low-income persons at risk for hepatitis B and follow them through every step of their care. About 1.25 million people nationwide and 65,000 in New Jersey have chronic hepatitis B. The Asian population in New Jersey has increased in the last 20 years, from 270,839 in 1990 to 725,726 in 2010. Much of the growth has been in Bergen County. For more information about the Asian Liver Center, call (201) 833-3399.