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Expanding Knowledge and Awareness for Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer for Underserved Communities in Greater Philadelphia

Hepatitis B is an infection that can be acute (short-term) or chronic (lifelong) that is often not reported or identified. In the United States, there are approximately 2.2 million individuals living with chronic hepatitis B and over 30,000 in Philadelphia, PA. If left undiagnosed, hepatitis B (HBV) can lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), or even liver cancer over time. Hepatitis B is vaccine-preventable but currently, acute hepatitis B rates are rising across the country in connection with the rise of injection drug use and a portion of those (approximately 10%) will result in chronic infections. In the United States, only 25% of people are aware of their hepatitis B infection and majority of the population remains undiagnosed. People who share needles, inject and use drugs, people with more than one sex partner, men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who were born or have parents from endemic parts of the world (Africa, Asia, Western Pacific), individuals with diabetes, and those immunocompromised are recommended by CDC to receive the HBV vaccine. Despite the availability of a vaccine, only approximately 25% of adults above the age of 18 are protected against HBV through vaccination. To reduce morbidity and mortality due to liver cancers in underserved communities particularly African immigrant, Asian and Pacific Islander and refugee communities and persons who use drugs in Greater Philadelphia, the Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) and its’ local coalition, Hep B United Philadelphia will collaborate to conduct culturally and linguistically competent, community-based education events in the Philadelphia region. HBF will oversee the coordination of the proposed project and bring its HBV and liver cancer expertise to the project. HBF was established in 1991 and its’s local coalition in 2007, and since inception has educated over 20,000 Philadelphians on HBV. There is a need to expand based on community-identified needs and target populations that are traditionally underserved. The goals of this project are to focus on significantly underserved populations to 1) Improve knowledge and access to health information about hepatitis B and liver cancer in high-risk populations in Greater Philadelphia to improve overall awareness and 2) Expand knowledge of hepatitis B into new priority populations through the creation of culturally competent materials and resources and distribute those resources to at least 600 people considered to be high-risk for hepatitis B in Greater Philadelphia.
Identify any specific population(s) this project will serve: 
Medically Underserved Areas/Populations
All of Us
Behavioral/Social Determinants of Health
African Americans or Black
Alaska Natives
Latino or Hispanic
Native Hawaiians
Pacific Islanders
Identify roles of participants this project will serve: 
Community based organization staff
Data resource or tool developer
General public
Public health professional
Project Lead:
Catherine Alise Freeland
Funding Source: 
Project Funding:
Federal Fiscal Year: 
Funding Amount: 
Funding Period:
Jun 1, 2020 to Apr 30, 2021
Project Status:
In Progress