World Hepatitis Alliance
A provocative advertising campaign promoting Hep B testing was launched in May 2010 in San Francisco where one in 10 Asian Americans are infected. Hep B attacks the liver and can lead to liver cancer and death. The disease shows no symptoms, so a Hep B test is the only way to know. About 25% of patients will develop liver cancer if untreated. But treatments are available to prevent liver cancer from developing The ad campaign titled, “Which One Deserves to Die?” was created by San Francisco Hep B Free, a group that hopes to make San Francisco free of Hep B disease.
Ten people from San Francisco’s diverse Asian communities are featured in each ad theme. Pageant queens, physicians, basketball players and others were seen on television, billboards, buses, metro stations, newspapers, and online. All sixty models were volunteers from the community, and numerous businesses donated nearly $1 million in services, including DAE Advertising who provided nine months of pro bono creative services. The ads urged people to “see a doctor who tests for Hep B” and noted that the disease “can be treated, even prevented.”
The citywide ad campaign was published in English and four Asian languages. It was hugely successful in raising awareness and drew national attention from The New York Times, National Public Radio, CBS News, and many media outlets. The Hep B Free model brings together a full spectrum collaboration to make system change and practice change for prevention of Hep B disease and liver cancer. The model is now being replicated nationwide in more than 14 cities with the goal of making all of America Hep B Free. “It is an important venture,” said Dr. Edward Chow the longest serving member of San Francisco’s Health Commission. “It has galvanized an entire city. Not just the health community—to help place on the map an important public health issue that seldom gets that same type of attention.”
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