This morning I was honored to help shine a spotlight on the "SAN MATEO HEP B FREE" campaign at Mills-Peninsula Hospital in Downtown San Mateo.
Hepatitis B ("Hep B") is a disease caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Infection with HBV can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and liver cancer. 80% of liver cancer worldwide is caused by HBV infection.
Unfortunately, 1 in 10 Asians and Asian-Americans have chronic hepatitis B, as compared to 1 in 1000 Caucasians with the disease, making it the greatest health disparity affecting Asian and Pacific Islander populations both locally and worldwide.
The good news about this deadly disease is that there is a successful vaccination to protect individuals from Hep B. Through proper screening and public education, people do not need to suffer from the an infection of Hep B.
In San Mateo, where 20% of our 96,000 neighbors are of Asian heritage, it is important to spread the word about proper screening and vaccination for Hep B.
This morning, I took 10 minutes out of my day to give a blood sample to get screened for Hep B. The next clinic where free screening will be offered will be this coming Wednesday, March 24, 2010 in Daly City.
I urge all residents to take part of this free clinic, and to help eradicate Hep B from our communities! Please email me for more specific information if you or a friend would like to be screened.