Forum to focus on hepatitis B and C
The new president of the Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii will participate in a forum on hepatitis B and C from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the former Gold Bond Building, 677 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 226.
Dr. Fernando Ona heads the Center for Digestive and Liver Diseases and Nutrition at the Veterans Administration's Pacific Island Health Care System. He will answer questions about the hepatitis "silent epidemics" and discuss what he is doing about treatment.
About 10,000 to 12,000 Americans die every year from liver disease caused by hepatitis C, according to the Hepatitis, Prevention, Education Treatment and Support Network of Hawaii.
Many people with HIV are also dying from hepatitis C-related liver disease, the organization says. Hawaii has the highest rate of liver cancer in the country, the network points out. An estimated 22,000 Isle residents are infected with hepatitis C, the most common chronic blood-borne viral infection in Hawaii, it says.
Left untreated, complications such as cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer are expected to increase from 60 percent to 200 percent by the end of the decade, the network said.
People are urged to get tested if they have had had any exposure to risk of the disease, such as blood transfusions before July 1992.
The free community forum, sponsored by the network and Access Care Today, is open to patients and family members, caregivers and professionals in the field. Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii doctors and patients and Life Foundation clients especially are encouraged to attend.
HepCats Hepatitis B & C support meeting has moved to the third Thursday of each month and will follow the speaker from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Call 375-8160 for more information about group or individual mentoring.
Those attending the forum are asked to call 221-6204, fax 738-5797 or e-mail KenAkinaka@aol.com.