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Monday, May 14, 2007

Press Release: "Asian American Reality TV Hunks Take Off Their Shirts For The San Francisco Hep B Free Campaign At The 3rd AHSC"

May 14, 2007

Free Hepatitis B Screenings will be provided by the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University during the Asian Heritage Street Celebration on Saturday, May 19th, 2007
1025 Howard Street, from 11 am to 4pm, SOMA District of San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA (May 14, 2007)— Yul Kwon, winner of CBS's Survivor: Cook Islands(and new CNN correspondent)along with the Cho Brothers of CBS’s Amazing Race 10 will be screened for hepatitis B during the Asian Heritage Street Celebration (AHSC) in San Francisco’s SOMA district at 1025 Howard Street on Saturday, May 19th, 2007. The Asian Liver Center at Stanford University will provide free hepatitis B screenings and vaccinations will be available at $20 per shot while supplies last

These screenings and vaccinations are a major step for San Francisco Hep B Free, a two-year-long campaign for the city to become the first in the nation to screen, vaccinate, and treat all Asian Pacific American (APA) residents for Hepatitis B (HBV). A major collaborative effort of city government, private healthcare, and more than 50 health and APA community organizations, San Francisco Hep B Free was launched on April 25, 2007 with a press conference and community dinner featuring Mayor Gavin Newson; Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting; Supervisor Ed Jew; Dr. Mitch Katz, Director, SF Department of Public Health; Dr. Samuel So, Director of Asian Liver Center at Stanford University; and Ted Fang, Director of AsianWeek Foundation.

“I’m proud that San Francisco is launching this very important initiative,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “Hepatitis B adversely affects the APA population, but a vaccine exists that safely and effectively prevents infection. I urge everyone to join us this weekend at the Asian Heritage Street Celebration by enjoying the festivities and being screened for hepatitis B.”

San Francisco’s APA residents comprise of 34% of the city’s population and bear a disproportionate burden of many undetected HBV infections and the highest liver cancer rate in the nation. While about 1 in 1,000 of the general US population has chronic HBV infection, 1 in 10 people in the API community are potentially living with an undiagnosed infection. APIs are 100 times more likely to suffer from chronic HBV infection and four times more likely to die from liver cancer compared with the general population.

“There are an estimated 25,000 APAs living in the city of San Francisco with chronic hepatitis B, and an additional 100,000 who are unprotected,” said Dr. Samuel So, Director, Asian Liver Center at Stanford University. “There’s a real need for increased hepatitis B testing and vaccination in the APA community. More than half of the deaths from hepatitis B are from our community, yet the seriousness of this disease is under-appreciated, under-diagnosed, and under-treated. We are grateful for everyone’s support in promoting awareness and prevention of this silent epidemic.”

In November 2006, Mayor Newsom signed a resolution authored by then Supervisor Fiona Ma establishing the goal of universal HBV screening and vaccination for APA residents. The SF Hep B Steering Committee was then formed, comprised of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Asian Liver Center at Stanford University, and AsianWeek Foundation.

“Many people are unaware that they may be infected with the disease and that is why this campaign is so important,” said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, Honorary Chairperson, SF Hep B Free Steering Committee. “Getting tested and vaccinated and/or receiving treatment will save lives and help make San Francisco hep B free.”
“This is one of the largest and most important mobilization efforts of its kind for the APA community,” said Yul Kwon, winner of CBS’ Survivor: Cook Islands. “I am inspired by the campaign and proud to be involved in the elimination of hepatitis B.”
During last year’s Asian Heritage Street Celebration, the response to the Asian Liver Center’s screening was enormous with more than 530 people tested. With the launch of this year’s SF Hep B Free campaign, the interest is expected to be even greater.

“SF Hep B Free is revolutionary in its perspective,” said Ted Fang, Director of AsianWeek Foundation. “This is one of the most ambitious campaigns for APAs. Simply by reaching out and bringing together all members of our community, we may be able to eliminate hepatitis B from San Francisco.”


Press Contacts:

Julie DeMelo, Niwa Public Relations
(508) 238-6547

Judy Hu, Niwa Public Relations
(415) 271-1560

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