By Wendy Osher
Free testing for Hepatitis B and C will be offered on Maui as part of World Hepatitis Day on Thursday, July 28, 2011.
The testing will be offered at the following times and locations on Maui:
- Maui AIDS Foundation (Free hepatitis C testing) 1935 Main Street, Suite 101, Wailuku, HI 96793. Phone: (808) 242-4900. Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Wailuku Health Center (Free hepatitis B and C testing) 121 Mahalani Street, Wailuku, HI 96793. Phone: (808) 984-2129. Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The free testing on July 28 is being offered at select locations across the state to help diagnose more cases and link individuals to care.
“Often called the silent epidemic, most people with hepatitis B or C don’t have symptoms for many years,” said Thaddeus Pham, DOH Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator. “People with hepatitis B and C shouldn’t wait until they feel sick to be tested because there are many things, including treatment, they can do to take care of themselves before they become ill. The earlier people know they have hepatitis, the better the outcome,” said Pham.
Government officials, medical experts and community advocates from across the islands will also launch “Hep Free Hawaiʻi,” a new statewide campaign to address viral hepatitis. The disease is life-threatening and is identified as the leading cause of liver cancer and affects Asian Americans Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders more than any other group in the United States.
It is estimated that more than 1 in 10 Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are living with hepatitis B, and an estimated 23,000 people in Hawaiʻi have hepatitis C. Because of the prevalence of hepatitis B and C inHawaiʻi, the state has the highest rate of liver cancer in the country.