AAPCHO helps launch National Hepatitis B Campaign
September 14, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[Archive] Stacy Lavilla
Director of Communications
(510) 272-9536 x110
OAKLAND, September 14, 2010 – The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, and the Hepatitis B Foundation, launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the epidemic of chronic hepatitis B among Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage. Chronic hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The focus of the campaign is a new television public service announcement (PSA) that encourages Asian Americans to get tested for HBV.
Hepatitis B disproportionately impacts Asian Americans. More than half of the estimated 1.4 to 2 million people chronically infected with hepatitis B in the U.S. is Asian American. Chronic hepatitis B is known as a “silent killer” because it can slowly destroy the liver without causing noticeable symptoms. Because of Asian Americans’ high hepatitis B rates, this population is nearly three times more likely to develop primary liver cancer than Americans of non-Asian descent.
Jeffrey Caballero, executive director at AAPCHO, says the campaign is an important component in the overall strategy to eliminate hepatitis B as a health disparity area for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. “Campaigns like this and similar efforts taking place across the country can play an important role in raising awareness, reducing stigma, and increasing screening and treatment rates for hepatitis B – all of which are critical to ending this epidemic,” he said.
HBV can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. Yet alarmingly, as many as two-thirds of Asian Americans living with the disease do not know they are infected. The new PSA notes that one in ten Asian Americans has hepatitis B, and asks, “Could you be one of them?” The PSA will begin airing this month on network affiliates and community stations in metropolitan areas with significant Asian populations, including Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The PSA, supported by funding from Gilead Sciences, was translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.
The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) is a national association representing 27 community health organizations dedicated to promoting advocacy, collaboration, and leadership that improves the health status and access of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders in the United States. Since 1987, AAPCHO has advocated for policies and programs that improve the provision of health care services that are community driven, financially affordable, linguistically accessible, and culturally appropriate. For more information on AAPCHO and its Guiding Principles and Values, please visit www.aapcho.org.