Published by the SF Examiner - May 4, 2010
SF Ethnic Communities | Miki Garcia
The San Francisco Hep B Free initiative is launching "Which One Deserves To Die?" an ad campaign alerting the Asian American community as May 2010 marks the 15th Anniversary of National Hepatitis B Awareness Month.
One in ten Asian Americans is chronically infected with hepatitis B – the leading cause of liver cancer -- compared to 1 in 1,000 in the general population. According to the National Cancer Institute, San Francisco has the highest rate of liver cancer in the nation.
Along with members of her family, California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-SF) has chronic hepatitis B. Since joining the campaign, she helped launch a groundbreaking screening and vaccination initiative in San Francisco and is currently working on a state bill calling for preventative hepatitis B care and vaccination. "As a Chinese-American, I have been the legislature's leading advocate to eliminate hepatitis B. The cause has special meaning to me because I live with chronic hepatitis B, a disease that affects 2 million Americans," she said.
San Francisco Hep B Free, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between city government, private healthcare community organizations and businesses, is trying to make the San Francisco Bay Area hepatitis B-free by creating public and healthcare provider awareness about the importance of testing and vaccinating Asian and Pacific Islanders for hepatitis B; promoting routine hepatitis B screenings and vaccinations within the primary care medical community; and facilitating access to treatment for chronically infected individuals. For more information, visit www.sfhepbfree.org.