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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

EndoNurse: "San Francisco Launches Hepatitis Campaign for Asian and Pacific Islanders"

SAN FRANCISCO -- 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 25, 2007, at New Asia Restaurant, at 772 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, Calif.

This major collaborative effort brings together city government, private healthcare and non-profit community organizations in a two-year campaign to screen, vaccinate, and treat all API residents for hepatitis B virus (HBV).

The San Francisco (SF) Hep B Free campaign will put San Francisco at the forefront of America in fighting chronic hepatitis. This campaign is also the largest healthcare campaign to target Asian and Pacific Islanders in the U.S.

San Francisco's API residents comprise 34 percent of the city's population and bear a disproportionate burden of liver cancer and undetected HBV infection. Hepatitis B is a serious disease responsible for 80 percent of all liver cancers among APIs. San Francisco has the highest liver cancer rate in the nation. It is estimated that one 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 four 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."

"This is a big problem for Asians and Asian Americans," said Samuel So, director of the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University. "Most Asian Americans are recent immigrants and their doctors have never tested them.

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.

Source: Asian Liver Center at Stanford University
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