The Council of the City of New York

Proclamation

Whereas: Hepatitis B is a silent epidemic that affects 1.2 million Americans, most of whom do not know they are infected with the virus. Chronic hepatitis B can damage the liver for up to 20-30 years without symptoms, and can lead to end-stage liver diseases such as cirrhosis or liver cancer in 1 in 4 infected individuals if left undetected and untreated. Hepatitis B is completely preventable with immunization and health outcomes can significantly improve with treatment. Still, approximately 100,000 city residents are currently living with chronic hepatitis B, many of whom have not been diagnosed and are not receiving the medical care they need. Public awareness is essential to stop the spread of the virus and improve the health of those living with chronic hepatitis B; and

Whereas: In New York City, chronic hepatitis B is two-to-four times the national average. Anyone can contract hepatitis B, but in the United States it disproportionately affects immigrant communities. Up to 70 percent of chronic hepatitis B cases in the U.S. occur in individuals born in the countries of Asia, Africa, or other regions where the hepatitis B virus is moderately or highly endemic. Shockingly, 1 in 12 Asian Americans are infected with chronic hepatitis B. Our city is home to a growing foreign-born population, whose vibrant communities make up an integral part of New York City’s social fabric. These populations bear disproportionately high rates of chronic hepatitis B, but are often medically underserved and disconnected from the resources that provide a vital health safety net for those with chronic diseases; and

Whereas: The lack of symptoms associated with chronic hepatitis B makes it imperative that all New Yorkers born in countries with moderate or high rates of endemic hepatitis B undergo screening for the disease in alignment with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York City’s community-based organizations are essential to help provide these populations with access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health education, screening, vaccination, and linkage to care; and

Whereas: Hepatitis B awareness remains very low in the general public and even among healthcare providers who regularly provide medical care for immigrant populations. We encourages city agencies, health care and human service providers, and community-based organizations to help increase awareness and knowledge about the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hepatitis B to reduce the morbidity and mortality of this serious chronic liver disease. Hepatitis B is a silent epidemic, and to defeat it we must put forth every effort to break the silence; now, therefore

Be it known: That in order to increase hepatitis B awareness, renew our support for people living with chronic hepatitis B, and encourage all New Yorkers to learn their hepatitis B status and receive the hepatitis B vaccine, the Council of the City of New York proclaims July 21st-27th, 2014 to be

Hepatitis B Awareness Week in the City of New York

Signed by:
Melissa Mark Viverito
Margaret Chin
Corey Johnson
Peter Koo
Rosie Mendez
Paul Vallone

 

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