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Editor's Note
Oct 22, 2012

Increase Screening for Hepatitis B Among AsiansComment on “Hepatitis B Screening in a US Academic Primary Care Practice”

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(19):1519. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.4000

Hepatitis B is a treatable disease. Treatment decreases viral replication and hepatic enzyme levels, causes histologic improvement of the liver, and increases survival in treatment responders.1 Persons who are infected with hepatitis B also benefit from surveillance for hepatocellular cancer. Of course, for persons to benefit from advances in hepatitis B treatment, they have to know that they are infected. This research letter demonstrates that even in a best-case scenario, where patients are empaneled in primary care practices in an academic setting, screening for hepatitis B among Asians is extremely low. We hope that publication of this research letter reminds practicing physicians that they should screen their patients who were born in Asia or who are Asians who were born in this country but not vaccinated as infants.

Dienstag JL. Hepatitis B virus infection.  N Engl J Med. 2008;359(14):1486-1500PubMedArticle