Similar to other communities of color, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community experience disparities in health outcomes and indicators. Compared to other racial and ethnic groups, members of the AAPI community are the least likely to report having a primary care physician and have the lowest cancer screening rates [1]. Besides disparities in cancer, they also face inequities in chronic diseases like heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

Here’s a look at health disparities among AAPI's and the role that LetsGetChecked’s healthcare solutions can play in closing gaps in care.

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Colorectal cancer

Among AAPI's, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and is the third cause of cancer-related mortality [2]. Despite the proven benefits of colorectal cancer screening tests, studies show that many are not engaging in screening as recommended by the United States Preventive Task Force (USPTF). About one in three adults aged 50 to 75 have not met recommended testing for colorectal cancer [3]. However, the lowest screening rates are among Asian Americans at 34.8% [4]. Individual barriers to screening include stigma and a lack of insurance, knowledge, and perceived health regarding CRC, all of which may be affected by cultural factors.

Hepatitis B

AAPI's account for 5.7 percent of the nation's population [5]. However, they account for more than 50% of Americans living with chronic Hepatitis B, with an estimated 1 in 12 Asian Americans living with the condition [6]. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health reports Asian Americans are two times more likely to develop chronic hepatitis B and eight times more likely to die from hepatitis B than non-Hispanic whites [7]. Despite such high rates, many AAPI individuals are not tested for hepatitis B and are unaware of their infection status. If left untreated, the hepatitis B virus can develop into chronic hepatitis B, which increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. As a result, chronic Hepatitis B and associated liver cancer in AAPI's is one of the most serious health disparities in the United States.

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Although there is growing attention on the elevated risk of type 2 diabetes among Asian Americans, efforts to appropriately screen this population remain suboptimal. AAPI's are more likely to have undiagnosed diabetes than other racial groups, with about one in three people unaware that they have the condition [8]. One reason for this disparity is that Asian Americans generally have lower body weight and body mass index, thus less likely to get screened for diabetes. The diabetes of prevalence among AAPI's is approximately 21%, almost twice as high as in non-Hispanic whites [9]. The high risk of diabetes has been attributed to a combination of genetic, physiologic, and environmental factors. These disparities highlight the importance of raising awareness and education on diabetes prevention, screening, treatment, and management.

How LetsGetChecked can help address health disparities

Investing in prevention and early detection is crucial to addressing the health disparities present in the AAPI population. LetsGetChecked’s at-home healthcare solutions can help increase engagement in preventive care, which is underutilized among AAPI's. Our at-home solutions meet individuals where they are, empowering them with accessible care and health insights to improve clinical outcomes.

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