It’s known as the silent killer and it strikes Asian Americans at an alarmingly higher rate than any other ethnic group.
Hepatitis B is caused by a virus transmitted through blood and child birth. It can also be transmitted through unprotected sex or blood contact through sharing of needles or open wounds. There is no known cure. Many who have it don’t even realize it.
“When someone is chronically infected, they don’t have any symptoms until it’s done damage to their liver,” Tracey Liu, director of the Hep B Project, told Oakland North. The project has offered free screenings to 1,200 people since 2009. Free clinics are offered every Wednesday in Oakland at the Street Level Health Project and on Saturday at Asian Health Services.
In the United States its recommended babies get vaccinated three times during the first six months after they are born.