Like many minority communities in the United States, Asian communities stand at a higher risk for several health issues. Thankfully, being aware of these conditions can help make a difference.
In this article, we will discuss three of the most common conditions faced by Asian Americans: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), viral hepatitis, and tuberculosis.
One of the primary risks of sexual contact is sexually transmitted diseases. WebMD describes STDs as an infection spread through vaginal, anal, and/or oral sex. A few STDs commonly found in Asian communities are as follows:
- Primary and secondary syphilis
- Congenital syphilis
Some of these conditions don’t show any symptoms for a long time. But this does not mean they are harmless. Nor does it mean they can’t still be spread.
Although there is a prevalence of STDs in Asian communities, thankfully, the CDC recommends several preventative measures. These seemingly minor measures can help keep people safe: vaccinations, abstinence, reducing sexual partners, mutual monogamy, and condoms.
But even though one might be practicing safe sex, there remains a possibility of contracting and/or transmitting STDs because many STDs don’t have visible symptoms. According to the National Center for Biotechnology, some health issues from untreated STDs can include infertility and ectopic pregnancies. So the only way to know for sure is to get tested.
It is important to catch STDs early, and the same is true for viral infections such as hepatitis.
Hepatitis refers to the inflammation of the liver, which helps process nutrients, filter blood, and fight infections. There are three main types of hepatitis, A, B, and C.
The causes of this condition vary for each type of Hepatitis. For example, Hepatitis A can be caused by eating or drinking something with the virus. Hep B, on the other hand is typically caused by needle sharing or sex with an infected person, according to WebMD. Hep C can also be transmitted by needle sharing, but it can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated blood.
The CDC found the following signs and symptoms indicate chronic viral hepatitis:
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
In general, it can take decades for chronic viral hepatitis to develop. And acute infections can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months for symptoms to appear—if they do at all.
One of the best ways of preventing hepatitis is getting vaccinated, and thankfully there is a hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccination available.
The third most prevalent health condition among Asian communities is tuberculosis.
This contagious infection targets the lungs, but in many cases, the infection can spread to the brain and spine, according to WebMD.
Symptoms of tuberculosis vary from person to person, but in general, the primary ones include:
- Feelings of weakness
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pains
- Coughing up blood
Tuberculosis is already considered a hard disease to control, treat, and diagnose but, racial disparities have made getting treatment difficult for many Asian Americans.
Cultural barriers, according to the CDC, may inhibit Asian Americans from seeking treatment or getting tested. But the only way to combat the spread and stay protected is by fighting back against the stigma.
We Can Help
While certain health conditions appear more prevalently among some communities, these statistics are in no way predictive.
With this information, we wish to shed light about conditions affecting Asian communities. And we encourage members of Asian communities to make an appointment, get screened, and receive quality health care.
If you have any concerns about your health, you should schedule an appointment with us.