April 26, 2012
Tulane University's Dr. Son Nguyen is hoping to raise hepatitis awareness locally by coordinating two West Bank testing events this weekend. Free screenings for hepatitis B and C, as well as blood pressure, blood glucose, and body mass index, will be offered.
The Saturday event will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Saint Agnes Le Thi Thanh Church, 6851 Saint Le Thi Thanh St., Marrero. The second event, on Sunday, runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Duc Me Len Troi Catholic Church/Assumption of Mary Church, 171 Noel Dr., Avondale. Organizers hope more than 600 will attend.
Inflammation caused by hepatitis can result in liver disease, including cancer and cirrhosis. Many people with chronic hepatitis B have no symptoms; those who do often mistake them for the flu -- with fatigue, nausea, and stomach pain commonly reported. Vietnamese-Americans are disproportionately impacted by chronic hepatitis B.
According to organizer Chantelle Jabbia, a similar testing event held in January in eastern New Orleans reached 392 people. Of these, 39 were diagnosed with hepatitis B and referred for treatment.