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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Press Release: "Asian Americans Rally to Support Assemblywoman Ma’s Hepatitis B Prevention Bill"

April 24, 2007

Assemblywoman Ma’s AB 158 to be heard later today in Assembly Health Committee

SACRAMENTO – Over 100 people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol to support AB 158 (Ma) and to urge Asian Americans to get tested and vaccinated for hepatitis B. AB 158, authored by Assemblywoman Ma (D-San Francisco), will be heard today in the Assembly Health Committee. Asian Americans rallied to support the bill and the need for additional awareness to prevent the further spread of the disease. Of the approximately 1.4 million Americans who are infected with hepatitis B, more than half are Asian/Pacific Islander Americans. Assemblywoman Ma, who is a carrier of hepatitis B, is leading the effort to ensure that all Asian/Pacific Islander Americans are aware of the disease and the vaccine.

“Many people are unaware that they may be infected with hepatitis B,” said Assemblywoman Ma. “By raising awareness and directing resources, this bill can end the disproportionate impact the disease has on Asian Americans like me.”

Today’s rally coincides with the start of The SF Hep B Free campaign, which puts San Francisco at the forefront of America in fighting chronic hepatitis. The campaign seeks to test and vaccinate all Asian and Pacific Islanders in San Francisco for hepatitis B. The goal of the campaign is to make the city hepatitis B free. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Supervisor Ed Jew are leading the effort with more than 50 healthcare and API organizations. The campaign will be announced on Wednesday, April 25th at New Asia Restaurant at 772 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA. For more information, please visit www.SFHepBFree.org.

Specifically, AB 158 will require the Department of Public Health to establish a hepatitis B prevention and management pilot program in the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area. The program will provide culturally and language appropriates public awareness and other activities relating to the prevention and management of hepatitis B. The bill is expected to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee within the next month.

Contact: Nick Hardeman
Phone: (916) 319-2012
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