B Free NYC (2004-2007)

B Free NYC, also known as the Asian American Hepatitis B Program (AAHBP), was created in 2004 with support and funding by the New York City (NYC) Office of the City Council. The Office of the City Council awarded four years of funding to the AAHBP coalition for education, screening, vaccination, and treatment of hepatitis B in New York City populations at greater risk for hepatitis B and liver cancer disparities.

Since its inception in 2004, AAHBP has launched a city-wide educational media campaign about hepatitis B, educated approximately 11,000 Asian Americans through education workshops, screened more than 8,900 individuals for hepatitis B, and administered nearly 5,800 doses of vaccine to susceptible persons. AAHBP physicians have clinically evaluated nearly 1,200 screening participants identified with hepatitis B. The AAHBP Coalition now consists of more than 20 NYC community-based organizations and health and academic institutions, including its original members.

Program Goals:

  • Raise the awareness level of hepatitis B and hepatitis B-related diseases among communities in New York City (NYC) at risk for hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection including Asian Americans, Eastern Europeans, African, Latinos and Caribbean Islanders by conducting a linguistically and culturally sensitive educational media campaign.
  • Screen communities at risk for hepatitis B virus at health education events and on a drop-in basis at multiple community-based health care centers located throughout NYC in areas where this target population resides and works.
    Offer post-screening hepatitis B vaccination to those persons who are susceptible to HBV exposure and infection.
  • Provide comprehensive post-screening clinical evaluation, care and treatment to HBV-infected individuals identified through this program and to HBsAg+ women identified through the NYS Perinatal Hepatitis B Program in a multi-specialty family-oriented center that is culturally and linguistically appropriate for the community.
  • Work with City and State Medicaid to develop a long-term program to provide HBV-related services through a Medicaid eligibility waiver to persons with chronic HBV-infection.

Long Term Objectives and Benefits:

  • Obtain accurate information about the epidemiology of hepatitis B infection in these communities.
  • Identify latent HBV infection in the community.
  • Assess the burden and cost of HBV infection within these communities in NYC.
  • Conduct an economic analysis of the program and determine the cost of implementing a screening and care program for HBV infection in NYC for all communities.
  • Evaluate the most effective ways of increasing awareness of HBV health issues in the communities.
  • Help develop guidelines for screening and management of HBV in NYC and nationally.
  • Support collaborative research in HBV and HCV.
  • Maintain and expand a specimen repository for use in future research investigations.
  • Reduce the risk of end-stage liver disease and liver cancer and ultimately save lives and taxpayer and city money.