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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Press Release: "San Francisco Hep B Free Campaign"

April 18, 2007

San Francisco Hep B Free Campaign
B Sure, B Tested, B Free

First City in the US to test and vaccinate all Asian and Pacific Islanders for hepatitis B

San Francisco, CA (April 18, 2007) – Mayor Gavin Newsom, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma and Supervisor Ed Jew will lead representatives from over 50 healthcare and Asian Pacific Islander (API) organizations to launch the first San Francisco Hep B Free Campaign on Wednesday, April 25th at New Asia Restaurant at 772 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA.

This major collaborative effort brings together city government, private healthcare and non-profit community organizations in a 2-year-long campaign to screen, vaccinate, and treat all API residents for hepatitis B (HBV). The SF Hep B Free campaign will put San Francisco at the forefront of America in fighting chronic hepatitis and will be the largest healthcare campaign to target Asian and Pacific Islanders in the U.S.

Hepatitis B is a serious disease responsible for 80% of all liver cancers among APIs. San Francisco’s API residents comprise 34% of the city’s population and bear a disproportionate burden of liver cancer and undetected HBV infection. San Francisco has the highest liver cancer rate in the nation. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the API community have an undiagnosed infection. APIs are up to 100 times more likely to suffer from chronic HBV infection and 4 times more likely to die from liver cancer compared with the general population.

“Hepatitis B virus is a highly infectious disease that is affecting the health of our vibrant Asian and Pacific Islander community,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “Fortunately, a vaccine exists that is safe and effective. San Francisco is committed to preventing the spread of this virus. Please join our efforts in making San Francisco a hepatitis B free city.”

In November 2006, Mayor Newsom signed a resolution authored by then Supervisor Fiona Ma establishing the goal of universal HBV screening and vaccination for API residents. The SF Hep B Free Steering Committee was also formed, comprised of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Asian Liver Center at Stanford University, and AsianWeek Foundation. Assemblywoman Ma serves as honorary chairperson. "I am proud to help lead this campaign because it focuses on prevention and awareness," said Assemblywoman Ma, an HBV carrier herself. "These are key factors for preventing the spread of hepatitis B in the Asian and Pacific Islander community."

The SF Hep B Free campaign will spread its message of B Sure, B Tested, B Free with media outreach including Asian television, print, and radio as well as mainstream media outlets. Members of the SF Hospital Council and the SF Community Clinic Coalition, the Asian Liver Center, API Wellness Center and others will provide accessible and free or low-cost screenings and vaccinations via physician offices, health clinics, and street fairs. “The goal of the campaign is to bring awareness to each and every API living in San Francisco and have them tested for hepatitis B."" said Dr. Mitch Katz, Director of Public Health, City and County of San Francisco.

"We are very pleased to be a part of this campaign," said Brenda Yee, CEO, Chinese Hospital and President of the SF Hospital Council. "The hospitals in San Francisco are in full support of educating and providing hepatitis B health access to the Asian and Pacific Islander community."

“There are almost 400 million people in the world living with chronic HBV infection and 75% of them, about 300 million, live in Asia,” said Dr. Samuel So, Lui Hac Minh Professor of Surgery and Director of the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University. “This is a big problem for Asians and Asian Americans, because most Asian Americans are recent immigrants and their doctors have never tested them. For this reason, our SF Hep B Free campaign’s main message to every API in San Francisco is: B Sure, B Tested and B Free.”


Grace Niwa
Niwa Public Relations
Tel: 646-644-5799

About the San Francisco Department of Public Health
The mission of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans. The Communicable Disease Prevention Unit, a section of the Health Department prides itself in promoting Hepatitis B awareness and prevention strategies, including vaccination and testing sites throughout the San Francisco community. For more information, visit www.sfdph.org

About the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University
The Asian Liver Center at Stanford University is the only non-profit organization in the United States that addresses the high incidence of hepatitis B and liver cancer in Asians and Asian Americans. Founded in 1996, the ALC has grown to become a national and international leader in fighting this global epidemic through outreach, education, advocacy, and research. For more information, visit http://liver.stanford.edu

About AsianWeek Foundation
The AsianWeek Foundation is a community based non-profit that celebrates the diversity of Asian Pacific America through identity assemblage – bringing together the multiplicity of groups and personality that make up our community. The AsianWeek Foundation does this by raising funds to support such activities, organizing activities, and working with and supporting other community based groups. The AsianWeek Foundation also seeks interaction between Asian Pacific America and other communities and cultures. For more information, visit http://www.asianfairsf.com

About the San Francisco Hep B Free Coordinating Council
The SF Hep B Free Coordinating Council is a first-in-the-nation effort calling on the collaboration of a wide spectrum of organizations and agencies from the Asian Pacific American and healthcare communities for testing and vaccinating all Asian and Pacific Islander residents, with the goal of making San Francisco free of Hepatitis B. For more information, visit www.SFHepBfree.org
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