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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 Hepatitis B News Items for 2010

Published in hbvadvocate.org
December 30, 2010
By Christine M. Kukka

A potential new, powerful treatment for hepatitis B, treating pregnant women to prevent infection of newborns, increased political and medical awareness of hepatitis B, and health care reform provisions have all had an impact on the hepatitis B community during 2010.

Three years ago, there were far fewer articles, studies and reports about monitoring, treating and preventing hepatitis B. This year, numerous studies and clinical trials have tracked the effectiveness of antivirals and interferon, and researchers have come up with new methods to monitor liver health, and screen those at risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Here are some of the major discoveries, reports, and public health initiatives that have had an impact on hepatitis B worldwide in 2010:

A National Model Emerges to Screen and Treat Asian-Americans for Hepatitis B: In 2007, community organizers in San Francisco began organizing the Hep B Free Campaign to increase screening, treatment, and immunization for hepatitis B. The initiative, which started with minimal funding, now involves more than 50 public and private health care organizations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants, and has become a national model for increasing access to health care for those at risk of HBV.

The campaign, focusing on a city that has the highest rate of liver cancer in the country, has created seven low-cost public access hepatitis B screening and vaccination sites through collaboration with community partners, public and private hospitals, doctors, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and non-profit organizations.

San Francisco, with its high percentage of Asian-American residents, has the highest rate of liver cancer in the nation and is the gateway for immigrants from Asian countries where there is a high prevalence of hepatitis B. The model is now being copied in San Mateo, San Jose, Orange County and Los Angeles, and federal and state health officials are touting its success and suggesting it be used in other cities with at-risk populations across the country.

Activists Utilize Provocative Social Marketing to Fight Hepatitis B: For years, critics have faulted hepatitis B activists for their low-profile, under-the-radar efforts to raise awareness of hepatitis B among those at risk for the infection, particularly Asian-Americans. Unlike AIDS activists, who publicly acknowledged their infections and staged public protests to raise awareness and push for fast-track development of AIDS drugs, hepatitis B organizers have been quiet, in part because many Asian-Americans found the culture of public protest and discussion of illness and death distasteful.

As part of San Francisco’s Hep B Free campaign, the Asian-American advertising agency DAE produced a provocative ad campaign entitled “Which One Deserves to Die” to alert the public that 1 in 10 Asian-Americans is chronically infected with HBV.

The posters appeared in local ethnic and mainstream newspapers, billboards, and bus transit boards in May 2010 in honor of the 15th anniversary of National Hepatitis Awareness Month and Asian Pacific Heritage Month. They showed groups of Asian-American beauty contestants, a sports team, and a family of 10 with the caption, “Which one deserves to die?”

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Monday, December 13, 2010

First Ever Hep B Awareness Calendar Published

Published in AsianWeek, December 13, 2010
By Linda Ong

The first ever calendar, dedicated to raising hepatitis B awareness is launching in time for the holidays on Wednesday, December 15 at The Artists Alley in San Francisco.

The 2011 Hep B Free calendar titled “Hep B can affect any one of us…” features 13 striking Asian Americans from the Bay Area, each of whom are carriers, survivors, people with family or friends who have had Hep B, or those who are actively involved in helping to raise awareness of the disease. Both profound captions and poignant personal quotes fill the pages of each month’s spread, in addition to alarming statistics of the effects of the disease and its prevalence among the Asian Pacific Islander community.

“The calendar is outstanding because it shows the relevance of Hep B in everybody’s lives, and that it can affect anyone,” said Ronald Wong, President of Imprenta Communications Group, Inc., who volunteered his time and resources for the creative design of the calendar.

The AsianWeek Foundation and San Francisco Hep B Free produced the calendar, which was shot by L.A. – based photographer Shane Sato. Jennifer Toy provided makeup while hair was styled by Ethel O’Yang of E The Look.

“The goal of the calendar is to spread awareness of Hep B all year round,” said Angela Pang, Community Relations Manager at the AsianWeek Foundation. “When people post up the calendar on their walls, we hope that it will serve as a friendly reminder to them and their loved ones about the importance of seeing a doctor who tests for Hepatitis B, if they haven’t already.”

Also known as the “Silent Killer,” Hep B currently affects 1 in 10 Asian Pacific Islanders, compared to 1 in 1,000 of the general public, and is also one of the primary causes of liver cancer. Despite this, Hep B can be treated with an effective vaccine if an infection is detected early. Therefore, the calendar serves as a daily reminder for the public to go to their doctors to get tested.

“Because of the campaign, I asked my doctor to test me and I have encouraged so many others to do the same,” said Janet Cruz, one of the calendar models and an active volunteer in the campaign. “I am honored to be a part of this pro-active movement with such devoted members who are dedicated to eradicating this fatal disease in our community.”

Calendars cost $10 each, plus $3 for shipping and handling and can be purchased online at sfhepbfree.org/calendar/ or in-person at the AsianWeek Foundation office located at 564 Market Street, Suite 320, San Francisco (Mon. through Fri., from 9 am to 5 pm). All proceeds will go towards ending hepatitis B disease and liver cancer. For more information about the calendars, call Carrolyn Kubota at (415) 373-4003.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 15, 5-7pm

WHERE: The Artists Alley

863 Mission St.

San Francisco, CA 94122

Thursday, December 2, 2010

San Francisco Hep B Free: A Grassroots Community Coalition to Prevent Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer.

J Community Health. 2010 Dec 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Bailey MB, Shiau R, Zola J, Fernyak SE, Fang T, So SK, Chang ET.

Asian Liver Center at Stanford University, 490 S. California Ave, Suite 300, Palo Alto, CA, 94301, USA, merb00@stanford.edu.

Chronic hepatitis B is the leading cause of liver cancer and the largest health disparity between Asian/Pacific Islanders (APIs) and the general US population. The Hep B Free model was launched to eliminate hepatitis B infection by increasing hepatitis B awareness, testing, vaccination, and treatment among APIs by building a broad, community-wide coalition. The San Francisco Hep B Free campaign is a diverse public/private collaboration unifying the API community, health care system, policy makers, businesses, and the general public in San Francisco, California. Mass-media and grassroots messaging raised citywide awareness of hepatitis B and promoted use of the existing health care system for hepatitis B screening and follow-up. Coalition partners reported semi-annually on activities, resources utilized, and system changes instituted. From 2007 to 2009, over 150 organizations contributed approximately $1,000,000 in resources to the San Francisco Hep B Free campaign. 40 educational events reached 1,100 healthcare providers, and 50% of primary care physicians pledged to screen APIs routinely for hepatitis B. Community events and fairs reached over 200,000 members of the general public. Of 3,315 API clients tested at stand-alone screening sites created by the campaign, 6.5% were found to be chronically infected and referred to follow-up care. A grassroots coalition that develops strong partnerships with diverse organizations can use existing resources to successfully increase public and healthcare provider awareness about hepatitis B among APIs, promote routine hepatitis B testing and vaccination as part of standard primary care, and ensure access to treatment for chronically infected individuals.

PMID: 21125320 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SF Hep B Free

SF Hep B Free
Putting the Social in Theory
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SF Hep B Free is currently going through a war of position. In this war of movement, SF Hep B Free also needs to “take the offensive more openly against the oppositionists and organise permanently the ‘impossibility’ of internal disintegration – with controls of every kind, political, administrative, etc., reinforcement of the hegominic ‘positions’ of the dominant group” (238-9). They are attempting to affect change indirectly by ensuring that various aspects of civil society can empathize and began to see what change needs to be affected. We are seeing part of Gramsci’s theory of transition occurring.

In this scenario, SF Hep B Free is attempting to change society. Here, we can view the State as a “coercive apparatus to bring the mass of the people into conformity with the specific type of production and the specific economy at a given moment” (56). Right now, Hepatitis B is not seen as national priority.
More specifically, primary providers are attempting to care for all of their patients as a whole and have less time to consider health disparities such as Hepatitis B, which might only affect a minor fraction of their patients or even none of their patients. These providers generate consent and thus, hegemony of what society is unaware of. They help generate hegemony through the whole idea that they are the people, who take care of us and have no ill-intended thoughts in their mind. They only have the intention of ensuring our well being. However, the problem in terms of Hep B awareness is that they might not know how to ensure a person’s well-being if that person might have Hepatitis B. These providers’ lack of knowledge of how to deal with a health disparity ends up leaving society to deal with the real truth of what is at stake, the rotation “of the ruling-class parties, not the foundation and organization of a new political society, and even less of a new type of civil society” (160). What is really at stake is this system, where people, who have Hepatitis B and dying from it despite the lack of resources available. The vaccine has been around since the 1960s and yet over 270 million people in the world have this disease. This cycle needs to be broken for change to be able to affect society. The best way for change to affect society is through a war of position. This war of position, “once won, is decisive definitively” (239) and as a result, change will occur. However, “the war of position demands enormous sacrifices by infinite masses of people” (239). SF Hep B Free needs to stay strong and continue to mobilize groups of support from their cause, not to just focus on Asian interest groups, but the community as a whole from churches to trade unions, and businesses.

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