New web site strives to make Latinos aware of risk infection to hepatitis

LatinaLista — Most people have heard the word “hepatitis” but don’t really know what it means. In short, hepatitis is when there is a swelling and inflammation of the liver. The causes for the liver to get this viral infection stems from mainly three sources:

  • Immune cells in the body attacking the liver and causing autoimmune hepatitis
  • Infections from viruses (such as hepatitis A, B, or C), bacteria, or parasites
  • Liver damage from alcohol, poisonous mushrooms, or other poisons
  • Medications, such as an overdose of acetaminophen, which can be deadly

It’s an infection that is not high on the worry list of most Latinos, but it should be:

Data shows that Hispanics/Latinos progress to cirrhosis faster and have higher cirrhosis mortality rates than non-Hispanic Blacks and Whites. Research also shows that Latinos have a 40% increased chance of being infected with hepatitis C as compared to the general population.

Next month, Latinos nationwide will focus on hepatitis as part of National Hepatitis Awareness Month. Yet today, the official website for the first-ever National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day was launched in preparation for the May 15 observance.

Created by the Latino Commission on Aids, the fully bilingual site is geared to both the public and community health advocates. It contains the kind of information people need to know if they suspect they or someone they know has hepatitis — and what they can do about it.

From defining the virus and describing the symptoms to explaining how it’s transmitted and how it’s treated, the site provides a multimedia approach to help people understand a virus that can have life-changing consequences if not recognized and treated.

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