SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) ― An edgy new public health campaign, launched this week in the San Francisco Bay Area, aims to raise awareness about Hepatitis B.
Chronic Hepatitis B infections are widespread in Asia, and in Bay Area Asian communities. In a new ad, 10 young Asian beauty queens are asked, "Which one deserves to die?"
The new campaign intends to jar Asian Americans into taking some action to combat the spread of Hepatitis. Roughly 1 in 10 Asian Americans in the Bay Area is infected with the virus.
Hepatitis B is a leading cause of liver cancer, and San Francisco leads the nation in liver cancers.
"By the time you feel symptoms, its pretty much too late...you're in the late stages of liver cancer and will require a liver transplant," said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma.
Assemblywoman Ma knows about the virus first hand. She was infected the way most Asians are, at birth.
"My grandmother had Hepatitis B, she gave it to my mother at birth, my mother gave it to me at birth," said Ma.
However, among Asians, the chronic infection is stigmatizing.
"It's kind of like AIDS. You know, 20 years ago nobody wanted to talk about it," added Ma.
The hope is that these ads will help remove the stigma, and prompt Asians to get tested, vaccinated, and if necessary treated.
The campaign is available in English, Cantonese, Mandarin as well as in the print ads in Korean and Tagalog.