Health Matters for Women
Improve Asian American and Pacific Islander Women’s Health
During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we highlight opportunities to address issues that affect the health of Asian American and Pacific Islander women in our communities.
Prevent Tuberculosis in Asian American and Pacific Islander Women
Among all tuberculosis (TB) cases in the United States, racial/ethnic minorities continue to be disproportionately affected by TB. Asians continue to be the racial/ethnic group with the largest number of TB cases. Compared with non-Hispanic whites, the TB rate among Asians in 2013 was 26 times higher.
- 1,318 cases of TB disease were diagnosed in the United States in Asian females (all ages), for a rate of 15.6/100,000; and
- 33 cases of TB disease were diagnosed in the U.S. inNative Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander females (all ages), for a rate of 12.5/100,000.
- In comparison, 481 cases of TB disease were diagnosed in the United States in white females (all ages), for a rate of 0.5/100,000 the same year.
- The TB case rate for Asians in the United States remained over three times the rate for Hispanics or blacks or African Americans.
People with TB disease are sick. They may also be able to spread the bacteria to other people. TB can be prevented, treated, and cured, but early detection and proper treatment are needed.
What more can we do?
- If you think you have been exposed to someone with TB disease, you should contact your health provider or local health department about getting a TB skin test or a special TB blood test.
- People with HIV are at high risk for getting TB disease if they are exposed and become infected. If you have HIV, get tested for TB infection; if you are found to have TB infection, you can take treatment to keep from getting TB disease.
- Untreated TB disease represents a greater hazard to apregnant woman and her fetus than does its treatment. Treatment of pregnant women should be initiated whenever the probability of TB is moderate to high.
To achieve TB elimination, intensified efforts are needed to address the persistent disparities that exist between U.S.–born and foreign-born persons, and between whites and minorities in the United States. Improved awareness, testing, and treatment of latent infection and TB disease in minorities and foreign-born populations is essential to these efforts.
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