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May 13 is Hepatitis B Awareness Day
  Mayor Gavin Newsom will issue a proclamation designating May 13, 2005 as "Hepatitis B Awareness Day" in San Francisco. The proclamation will be presented at a local event hosted by the Hepatitis B Foundation, the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
As part of the May 13 event, local physicians, chronic hepatitis B patients and third-party organizations will gather to share their experiences with this life-threatening disease, and discuss the importance of increasing the awareness and education for the disease in San Francisco and throughout the United States.
The event is part of "AIM for the B: Awareness, Involvement and Mobilization for Chronic Hepatitis B," a nationwide education program held in recognition of National Hepatitis B Awareness Week, May 9-16.
In honor of National Hepatitis B Awareness Week (May 9-16), the Hepatitis B Foundation and Bristol-Myers Squibb will host "AIM for the B: Awareness, Involvement and Mobilization for Chronic Hepatitis B," a program designed to raise awareness of the 1.25 million Americans who suffer from chronic hepatitis B.
The purpose of the "AIM for the B" program is to raise public awareness and engage key audiences to increase the urgency around hepatitis B as a U.S. health issue. Details on the local community events are below. Patients and their families are welcome to attend.
Following are details on the four planned events:
"AIM for the B" Patient Workshop; Philadelphia on Tuesday, May 10 at 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET (workshop open only to hepatitis B patients) Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn's Landing (Columbus "C" Room), 201 S. Columbus Blvd.
Moderators include:
--Dr. Hie-Won Hann, professor of medicine, Jefferson Medical College --Molli Conti, Hepatitis B Foundation
"AIM for the B" Public Forum New York on Wednesday, May 11 at 9 to 10:30 am ET Millennium Hilton, New York City, 55 Church St. (Chelsea Room). Panel of experts include:
-- Dr. Thomas Tsang, medical director, Charles B. Wang Community Health Center
-- Dr. Ira Jacobson, chief of gastroenterology and hepatology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
-- Molli Conti, Hepatitis B Foundation
-- Shannon Morris, family member of deceased hepatitis B patient
"AIM for the B" Patient Workshop; San Jose, Calif. on Thursday, May 12 from 6 to 7:30 pm PT (workshop open only to hepatitis B patients) Hilton San Jose & Towers, Plaza Room (Second Floor), 300 Alameda Blvd. Moderators include:
-- Dr. Huy Trinh, a gastroenterologist in private practice in San Jose, Calif.
-- Joan Block, Hepatitis B Foundation
AIM for the B" Public Forum; San Francisco on Friday, May 13 from 9 to 10:30 am PT W Hotel, San Francisco, 181 Third St.
Panel of experts include:
-- Dr. Teresa Wright, professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco
--Jeffery Caballero, AAPCHO
-- Joan Block, Hepatitis B Foundation
-- Karin Koelle, a hepatitis B patient and Bay area resident
-- Paul Burmaster, DDS, chronic hepatitis B patient
When: Friday, May 13, 2005, 9 - 10:30 a.m. (Continental breakfast will be served)
Where: W Hotel San Francisco, Workroom 2 (Third Floor), 181 Third St. (Corner of Howard St. and Third St. - across from the Moscone Center) San Francisco
Why: In the United States, more than one million people have developed chronic hepatitis B infection and more than 5,000 Americans die from hepatitis B and hepatitis B-related liver complications each year, including liver damage (cirrhosis) and liver cancer. More than half a million people worldwide die each year from primary liver cancer, and up to 80 percent of primary liver cancers are caused by chronic hepatitis B.
While only three percent of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B infection, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (API) make up more than half of those chronically infected with the disease in the United States. Depending upon the country of origin, between five and 15 percent of API immigrants are chronically infected with hepatitis B.
Included in the population at risk is the Bay Area's community of more than 1.3 million API individuals [2000 estimates]. Most hepatitis B-infected individuals have no symptoms but they can still transmit the infection and develop liver cancer. Furthermore, the incidence of liver cancer among API ethnic groups is 1.7 to 11.3 times higher than rates among Caucasian Americans.
What is the "AIM for the B" Program?
"AIM for the B" (Awareness, Involvement and Mobilization for Chronic Hepatitis B) is a public awareness initiative designed to highlight chronic hepatitis B as a key problem in the United States and to build an awareness and understanding of the disease. The initiative is co-sponsored by the Hepatitis B Foundation and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and aims to build passion, advocacy, motivation and awareness around chronic hepatitis B.
As part of the program, a series of local events will take place May 9-16, to coincide with ‘National Hepatitis B Awareness Week,' as designated by the U.S. Senate." The "AIM for the B" program includes events held in four cities where chronic hepatitis B prevalence is high—Philadelphia, New York, San Jose and San Francisco. During the events, local physicians, chronic hepatitis B patients and third-party organizations will gather to share their experiences with the disease, and discuss the importance of early diagnosis and care.
Why Is Chronic Hepatitis B Awareness Important?
There is a lack of awareness of chronic hepatitis B in the United States. Chronic hepatitis B is potentially a life-threatening disease, and yet it is frequently not diagnosed because most people may not experience symptoms. Prevention, screening and treatment are all important in the fight against this serious liver disease.
Chronic hepatitis B is often called a "silent disease" because more than two-thirds of patients infected with the disease have no symptoms - or unrecognized symptoms.1 Nearly 90 percent of infected mothers can transmit the hepatitis B virus to their babies during childbirth without knowing they were even infected themselves. People who become chronically infected during childhood have a 25 percent chance of dying from HBV-related liver cancer or cirrhosis.2
What Is the Prevalence of Hepatitis B in the U.S.?
According to the Hepatitis B Foundation, more than 12 million Americans (one in 20) have been infected with the hepatitis B virus.3 Of those individuals, approximately 1.25 million people have developed chronic infection.4 Each year up to 100,000 new people become infected with hepatitis B and more than 5,000 Americans die from hepatitis B-related liver complications, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.3 It is estimated that one U.S. health care worker dies each day from hepatitis B.3
How Is Hepatitis B transmitted?
Hepatitis B can be transmitted vertically through blood or infected body fluids through direct contact with infected blood or body fluids, infected blood products, unprotected sex, unsterile syringes needles used with intravenous drugs, and from an infected woman to her newborn baby during childbirth.4
Where Can I Get More Information?
For more information on local "AIM for the B" events, visit the Hepatitis B Foundation's website at www.hepb.org.
For information on the treatment and management of hepatitis B, visit the hepatitis B section of the HIV and Hepatitis.com.
1. American Liver Foundation. "Hepatitis B: Breaking the Cycle of Infection from Mother to Newborn" Accessed Jan. 25, 2005.
2. World Health Organization. "Hepatitis B Fact Sheet" Accessed Feb. 3, 2005.
3. Hepatitis B Foundation. "Statistics" . Accessed Jan. 25, 2005.
4. Hepatitis Foundation International. Accessed Jan. 25, 2005.
5. HIV and Hepatitis.com
6. http://www.NATAP.org
Bristol-Myers Squibb
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