BYU students raise hepatitis B awareness

Team HBV gathered together to educate BYU students about Hepatitis B with pizza and a ping pong tournament (Annie Trumbull).
Team HBV gathered together for a ping pong tournament and to educate BYU students about hepatitis B. (Annie Trumbull)

BYU’s Team HBV has a goal to help people in the Asian and Polynesian communities understand the dangers of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is the second leading cause of cancer, second only to smoking.

The U.S. usually vaccinates all children against hepatitis B, otherwise known as HBV. Other countries around the world, specifically Asian and Polynesian countries, do not require the vaccine for their children.

“One-third of the world’s population is infected with hepatitis B,” said Team HBV faculty advisor Gene Cole. “HBV can then lead to liver cancer and eventually death.”

Senior Annie Trumbull, a leader of Team HBV, hopes to raise awareness of the cause among Asian and Polynesian students at BYU.

“Our goal is to take a worldwide initiative to eradicate a disease that is 100 percent preventable,” Trumbull said. “We wanted to bring this initiative to campus.”

Students recently gathered in the Wilkinson Center to raise awareness for hepatitis B by having pizza and a ping-pong tournament. Team HBV helped educate those who attended the ping-pong tournament about the dangers of hepatitis B.

Freshman Spencer Bates, a ping-pong enthusiast, initially attended the event for the fun and games.

“Honestly, I heard there was going to be pizza and ping-pong so I had to come,” Bates said. “But now that I know more about hepatitis B, I want to do everything I can to help educate other people.”

By promoting awareness for HBV, the club hopes to increase the number of people tested for HBV and the number of medical screenings for those who do not know the symptoms. Hepatitis B can be transmitted through any contact with infected bodily fluids, such as blood.

Trumbull also said returned missionaries from Asian and Polynesian countries can help by reaching out to old contacts and encouraging them to get tested.

“Contact people you taught on the mission,” Trumbull said. “Make sure they get tested and get treatment if they are infected. Hepatitis B is totally preventable and we can help eradicate it through education about HBV and the dangerous effects it has on the world.”

BYU’s Team HBV is a Provo chapter of the organization originally founded at Stanford University.

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