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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 10:56 a.m., Friday, May 5, 2006

Free hepatitis screens, health fair in Waipahu tomorrow

Advertiser staff

Free hepatitis B & C screenings and other health assessments will be offered at the Hawaii Community Health Fair, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu.

All are invited to the event, and those of Asian and Pacific-islander ancestry — groups that have the highest rates of hepatitis B — are especially urged to attend.

According to Hawaii Cancer Facts & Figures 2003–2004, liver cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among Chinese, Filipino, and Hawaiian males.   

"One in ten of the more than 100,000 Filipinos in Hawai'i who were born in the Philippines have chronic hepatitis B, and most of them do not know it because the disease has no symptoms," said Dr. Rosalo Paeste, President of the Philippine Medical Association of Hawai'i.

"Chronic hepatitis can lead to liver cancer that can take 20 to 30 years to develop, so this health fair offers the opportunity for many to be tested for free so that appropriate management can begin."

This Health Fair is open to everyone. Pacific Islanders and Asians in Hawai'i who were born in other countries are especially encouraged to attend and obtain free hepatitis tests, even if they were raised here or have been here for many years.

The rates of infection with chronic hepatitis B of people who were born in many other Pacific Islander and Asian countries are higher than the average rate of chronic infection in the United States, according to state health statistics.

Many people who were born in other countries are infected with chronic hepatitis B and do not even know it since they do not feel ill.

Eight percent to 10 percent of Filipinos and West Samoans, 12 percent of Chinese, Micronesians, Marshall Islanders, Koreans, and Vietnamese, and 20 percent of Tongans who were born in those countries may be infected with chronic hepatitis B and need to be tested and treated to help prevent liver cancer and liver disease, organizers of the health fair report.

The fair will include entertainment and speakers on other health concerns that are prevalent within the Filipino community, including high blood pressure, diabetes, tuberculosis, kidney disease, Hansen's disease, mental health issues, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, cancer, and tobacco and drug use.

Physicians will also be available to meet with families individually.

There will be free food, entertainment and information on other health matters. 

Participating organizations of the event include:

* Aldersgate United Methodist Church

* Aloha Medical Mission

* Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training

* Bayanihan Clinic Without Walls, Inc.

* Filipino Nurses Organization of Hawai'i

* Hawai'i Department of Health

* Life Foundation

* Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center

* Waipahu Family Health Center (on-site)

* West O'ahu Hope for Cure Foundation.

Radio station KNDI will broadcast live from the event so that those who can't attend can still hear the entertainment and speakers.

Wondering where to park? A shuttle will run from Waipahu District Park on Paiwa Street and Waikele Community Park on Lumi'aina Street to the FilCom Center from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There's limited parking at the FilCom Center, the nearby Waipahu Civic Center building and the Waipahu United Church of Christ.

The Bus routes to get to the FilCom Center in Waipahu are: 40, 43 and 432.

Information: 221-6204