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Monday, June 29, 2009

Media Advisory: "SF Hep B Free and Supervisor Maxwell Promote Hepatitis B Awareness in Visitacion Valley"

Media Advisory
June 29, 2009

SF Hep B Free and Supervisor Maxwell Promote Hepatitis B Awareness in Visitacion Valley
biodegradable grocery bags to be distributed to local merchants-

WHAT: To further promote their citywide effort to educate, screen, and vaccinate all Asian and Pacific Islanders for hepatitis B, SF Hep B Free has teamed up with Supervisor Sophie Maxwell to outreach to the Asian American community in Visitacion Valley. Maxwell along with representatives from the neighborhood, and the SF Hep B Free campaign will distribute free bright-yellow biodegradeable shopping bags with imprinted hepatitis B prevention messages to local merchants.

"Hepatitis B is manageable and preventable," said District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell. "It is important for people to get tested and become informed about Hepatitis B."

One side of the bag carries the "B a Hero" logo of the SF Hep B Free campaign, which encourages all San Franciscans to be a hero by simply getting tested for the hepatitis B virus and encouraging their friends and families to get tested as well. The other side of the bag displays the hepatitis B message in four languages: English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.

The SF Hep B Free bags were donated by Hayward-based Tri Star Plastic, Inc. Tri Star CEO Andrew Chen's father was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B several years ago and underwent a successful liver transplant. Now, Chen says he wishes to do whatever he can to let people know about hepatitis B, which, left unmonitored and untreated, can cause cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and liver failure. Hepatitis B is responsible for one-in-four liver cancer cases among Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.

"Hepatitis B is a serious disease," says Chen. "I'd like to see more dialogue about this disease and more action, so that more lives can be saved."

WHEN: Monday, June 29, 2009, 11:30 am

WHO: Sophie Maxwell, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 10
Ted Fang, AsianWeek Foundation, SF Hep B Free Campaign member
Janet Zola, Health Prevention Specialist, SF Dept. of Public Health

WHERE: Departing from Sterling Bank at 11:45am.
2555 San Bruno Avenue
(near Burrows)
San Francisco, CA
*Call Angela Pang at (650) 703-9364, if running late.

VISUALS: Interviews with SF Hep B Free spokespersons and Supervisor Maxwell.


ABOUT HBV: Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) are disproportionately impacted by Hepatitis B. It is a disease of the liver caused by HBV, a virus often called a "silent killer" because it can cause liver cancer, cirrhosis or liver failure without producing symptoms. San Francisco has the highest liver cancer rate in the nation and 80% of liver cancer in APIs is caused by HBV. But it's preventable with a simple vaccine.

ABOUT SF Hep B Free: SF Hep B Free is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between city government, private healthcare and community organizations. The program's goal is to make San Francisco a hepatitis B-free city by (1) creating public and healthcare provider awareness about the importance of testing & vaccinating APIS for hepatitis B; (2) promoting routine HBV screenings and vaccinations within the primary care medical community; and (3) facilitating access to treatment for chronically infected individuals.
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