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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Successful Citywide Prevention Campaign to be Replicated

CPIC integral to evaluation of campaign's effectiveness; other areas to replicate approach

FREMONT, Calif., Jan. 12, 2011
PR Newswire Press Release

The Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) and three other institutions have released new research findings to demonstrate that the massive collaborative effort known as the San Francisco Hep B Free campaign has increased awareness, testing and vaccination for chronic hepatitis B – a silent killer and the leading cause of liver cancer – in the city's Asian and Pacific Islander community. Asians and Pacific Islanders are the racial/ethnic group at highest risk of chronic hepatitis B.

CPIC Research Scientist Ellen Chang, Sc.D., played an essential role in the breakthrough study just published in the Journal of Community Health. She and colleagues from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the AsianWeek Foundation, and the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University found that Hep B Free provides communities with a powerful and cost-efficient model to prevent hepatitis B and associated liver cancer in at-risk populations.

Last May, the New York Times covered the campaign, which started in 2007, for its striking yet controversial advertisements.

"Because of this innovative and inclusive campaign, which pulled together 160 public and private partners across San Francisco, thousands of high-risk individuals were vaccinated, preventing them from ever developing liver cancer due to hepatitis B," said Dr. Chang. "Thousands more were screened for chronic hepatitis B, enabling those who tested positive to be routinely screened for liver cancer to catch the disease early and cure it."

The campaign was the first city-wide effort to combat hepatitis B and the first to focus so broadly on Asian and Pacific Islander health. Partners included the Asian and Pacific Islander community, the health care system, policymakers, public officials, businesses, and the general public.

Dr. Chang and her study collaborators showed an 8% increase in hepatitis B screening tests throughout San Francisco from 2006 (just before the campaign was launched) to 2008 and a 17% increase in tests for immunity from the disease. Community events and fairs designed to increase hepatitis B awareness and prevention reached 200,000 individuals.

Prior to the campaign's launch, 30% of primary health care providers in San Francisco could not correctly identify the screening test for hepatitis B and most underestimated the burden of hepatitis B in Asians and Pacific Islanders. As a result of the educational events and materials distributed, more than half of primary care physicians in San Francisco and all hospitals in the city pledged to screen Asian and Pacific Islander individuals routinely for the disease.

For the entire article, and more information about CPIC's research study,
click here

For a PDF version of the article, click here

SOURCE Cancer Prevention Institute of California

This press release was also featured in:
Yahoo News
The Street
MedPage Today
Centre Daily Times
WTHR-Channel 13, NBC Affiliate, Indianapolis
World Market Media
SunHerald.com, South Mississippi
WEHT-Channel 25, Indiana

Friday, January 7, 2011

What You Should Know About Hepatitis B

Featured in Vietnam Talking Points
Posted January 7, 2011
By Jennie Le

When I was a child, I lost someone close due to the compromising effects of the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). As a result of HBV, liver cancer crept up on him so much sooner and faster than it should have. He died when he was only 42.

Now, I’m not a crusader for HBV awareness, prevention, and screening. In fact, I don’t think I paid much attention to this topic very much until recently. However, after learning much more about this virus and realizing how close to home it’s hit, I wanted to make sure my fellow readers have insight on this detrimental infection.

What is HBV? Hepatitis B is a disease caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus. Chronic infection with HBV can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. About 60% – 80% of primary liver cancer worldwide is caused by chronic HBV infection. There have been studies that say HBV is 50 -100 times more infectious than HIV and can survive out of the body for up to 7 days. Worldwide, 370 – 400 million suffer from chronic HBV versus 40 million who suffer from HIV. (Disclaimer: My point isn’t to say HIV isn’t as important to learn about and prevent, but merely to show how HBV deserves just as much attention as HIV gets in education and media.)

How is it transmitted? Many people with chronic HPV exhibit no symptoms and feel pretty healthy. It can be transmitted through 1) a mother to a child at the time of birth, 2) contact with infected blood, 3) and unprotected sex. Among the Asian & Pacific Islander (API) community, transmission of HPV often occurs during birth from mother to child. Because HPV is often symptomless, the disease can progress undetected until it is too late and treatment options are limited or ineffective.

How does it affect America? In the US, there are an estimated 60,000 people infected with HBV each year, with 5,000 people dying each year from HPV related liver cancer or cirrhosis with liver failure. We lose more than $700 million in work and medical loss costs due to HPV-related conditions. An estimated 1.25 million Americans are chronically affected with HBV. Over half affected are API Americans.

How does it affect the API community? As many as 1 out of 10 API Americans are chronically affected as opposed to 1 in 1000 Caucasian Americans. About 1 out of 4 people who have HBV will get liver cancer. In addition, APIs are 100 times more likely to have chronic HBV than Caucasians and have the highest rate of liver cancer for any racial/ethnic group, which is the second most common cause of cancer in API men.

What has been done in our community? In 2007, San Francisco set a citywide campaign to be the first HBV free city in the nation through “San Francisco Hep B Free.” This unprecedented 2-year campaign began in April hoping to screen, vaccinate, and treat all San Francisco API residents of HPV by providing convenient, free or low-costing testing opportunities. SF has the highest liver cancer rate in the nation, and understanding that Hepatitis B was responsible for 80% of all liver cancers among APIs, the campaign attempted to educate and treat people about HBV.

What are some myths surrounding HBV? Hepatitis B is NOT transmitted through
1. Food/water
2. Casual contact such as hugging or shaking hands
3. Kissing, sneezing or coughing
4. Breastfeeding

What can we do to prevent/treat it? Since the diagnosis of hepatitis B is so easily missed by both patients and their physicians, the only way to diagnose for hepatitis B infection is through a simple and inexpensive blood test. It is preventable with a simple vaccine series. By identifying the 1 in 10 API Americans who are unaware of their HBV, vaccinating those who don’t have it now, and educating the community how the issue at hand and how to handle it, we will see the high numbers of those affected by HBV drop.

Being involved and aware are simple. Get tested. The next time you visit your doctor, ask for an HBV test if you haven’t already. This isn’t included in your routine physical exam, so be sure to request the two blood tests to determine if you have HBV. Get vaccinated. If you are negative for the surface antigen and surface antibody, get the 3-shot Hepatitis B vaccination. Get involved. Learn more about HBV and share it with your friends and family.

For the entire article, including more information on HBV, click here
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