The Silent Disease African Immigrants Should Know About

The Silent Disease African Immigrants Should Know About

The current health statistics show that hepatitis B (HBV) is common among immigrants from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. We know that 1 in 10 immigrants from Africa and 1 in 12 immigrants from Asia will test positive for HBV. This is why Med-IQ is engaging in an intentional effort to create awareness among these groups of immigrants living in the US.

In case you’re new to my blog, I am the proud child of African immigrants. My love for my African culture runs deep. So much so that it was important for me to collaborate with Med-IQ to help generate awareness about HBV amongst immigrants. It’s top priority: to educate ourselves and dismantle any stigmas around the disease. 

Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides quality education for patients, physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

What is hepatitis B virus?

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a medical condition that affects the functions of your liver, possibly leading to liver failure or cancer. The liver, a vital organ in our body, functions as a purifier to the blood. The liver also balances the chemical composition in drugs and other things we consume through a metabolic process that detoxifies and protects our internal system from potentially dangerous chemicals. 

It’s important that your liver is functioning properly; this is why you must do all it takes to avoid becoming infected with HBV.

 

How is HBV transmitted?

The virus that causes hepatitis B can be transmitted from a mother to child during childbirth. Also, you can become infected with HBV when you have unprotected sex with an infected person or share injection needles with an infected person. Don’t be alarmed after reading this information; there are effective ways to keep you protected from contracting the virus.

Get tested for HBV

It is important that every immigrant (including our parents) and direct descendants of immigrants from the regions mentioned above are tested for HBV. As always, early detection significantly increases the chances of survival. Also, infected cases detected early can be medically managed, which improves the chance of living a normal life. Under proper guidance from your healthcare provider, you can make lifestyle changes to stay healthy. And if necessary, drugs that can lower the chances of a health crisis will be prescribed to you. And if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant, it’s important to know your status to protect your baby.

If your test result for HBV is negative, you’ll be advised to be immunized against the virus. Please note that immunization must be done only when your test result for HBV is negative. It is important to do a test before getting immunized against HBV. 

 

In conclusion, the symptoms of HBV are hard to detect; it’s a silent disease that can slowly damage your liver. That’s why you must get tested as quickly as possible. Please do not wait for your healthcare provider to recommend a test for HBV. This is what you can do: speak with your healthcare provider about getting tested for HBV, informing them that you would like to do the test as soon as possible.

As always, eat healthy foods, stay active, and get tested for HBV.

I was compensated by Med-IQ to write about HBV screening and treatment. All opinions are my own.

 

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