When it comes to health, knowledge is power. This is especially true when it comes to hepatitis B. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Asia Pacific region sees one of the highest prevalence of people living with viral hepatitis. Despite the high prevalence, more than half of persons living with hepatitis do not know they have the virus. Undiagnosed and untreated, hepatitis B often leads to further complications. Liver cancer, one of the most severe complications, is often correlated with untreated hepatitis B in the Asia Pacific.
In a large-scale Asia Pacific study,
supported by Gilead, critical gaps in public awareness and attitudes towards viral hepatitis were found. Misinformation and a lack of testing and awareness impede WHO’s goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030.
Professor Yuen Man-Fung, chief of division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Hong Kong, says, “Adopting a public health approach seeks to promote health, prevent infection and disease, and prolong life among the population as a whole. Globally, there have been concerted efforts to ensure the widest possible access to support for local communities by strengthening disease education efforts, and the Asia-Pacific is no exception.”
One such effort, for which Yuen is also the chairman of the advisory panel, is the biennial Gilead Asia Pacific ALL4LIVER Grant.
This pioneering grant was set up to empower community group-led projects that can help improve liver health in the Asia Pacific to the forefront of public health and address the unmet needs in the region. Community-led projects like these can make viral hepatitis elimination in the Asia-Pacific a reality sooner.
Beyond programs and initiatives, we need first-hand knowledge to make informed decisions about our health. In this series of videos, we hear from four individuals who have become forces of change in the lives of hepatitis B positive individuals and forged strong communities of support. Read about these inspiring individuals’ journeys in the links below and hear more about their big efforts to empower others to navigate hepatitis B and live long and happy lives with their loved ones.