The Center for Asian Health at Temple University was recently awarded a three year $1.8 million grant to study hepatitis B. The study’s aim is to improve the number of Asian Americans receiving treatment and monitoring of hepatitis.
Asians and Pacific Islanders are at a higher risk for hepatitis B, an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. According to the Center’s Director, Grace Ma, nearly 60% of Asian Americans infected with this virus do not receive monitoring or treatment. One reason so many are unaware they are infected is because there are very few early symptoms.
Ma also said that language barriers, access to proper healthcare and lack of proper healthcare are often reasons why Asians do not follow up with their treatment. There is a lower rate of survival if hepatitis is diagnosed in a late stage even with proper care and treatment. Symptoms often do not appear till much later which leads patients wrongly to believe they are healthy.
Part of the study will also include the affects of a patient navigator that will guide patients and healthcare providers as they manage the health care system.
The study will follow 500 infected patients through six clinics in Philadelphia and New York City. Ultimately improving treatment should increase the liver cancer survival rate among Asian Americans.