San Francisco has the highest rate of liver cancer in the nation and liver cancer is the deadliest cancer in America. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are the primary causes of liver cancer.
“We want to know what the next mayoral candidates will do to end the epidemic,” said Ted Fang of the AsianWeek Foundation and c0-founder of San Francisco Hep B Free.
Fang asked all the candidates to issue a 300 word statement about how their administration would end hepatitis in the city if elected.
Honorable attendees at the press conference included: CA Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Fiona Ma, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.
Assemblywoman Ma, who recently authored Bill 300 that was passed to help assist the elimination of hepatitis threats in tattoo and piercing parlors, used her time to extend the campaign effort across the nation by “getting everyone on board to eradicate this disease.” She proposed that the community should get President Obama to work on the issue.
Supervisor Wiener stressed how crucial it is to have local leadership on such an important topic that not only affects Asian Americans (1 in 10 Asian and Pacific Islanders is living with chronic hepatitis B) but gay men as well.
Supervisor Wiener shared his personal story about how after he came out to the public he “got tested and then got vaccinated” for hepatitis B.
Supervisor Mirkarimi, who is running for San Francisco Sheriff, noted that hepatitis also affects those in the jail system who are sometimes overlooked when it comes to the virus.
“I want to make sure we circle the whole equation in the jail system,” said Supervisor Mirkarimi.
SF Hep C Task Force Co-Chair Andrew Reynolds noted that earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the first ever U.S. National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, providing a coordinated, nationwide approach to address viral hepatitis. He said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Howard Koh will be in San Francisco on November 4 to make a keynote address on the subject of “Ending ALL Hepatitis” at the 4th Annual “B a Hero” Hep B Free Gala.
The mayoral candidates’ statements on their plans to eliminate viral hepatitis will be published in the Hep B Gala program book, distributed to the media and published online including AsianWeek.com, HepCSF.org and SFHepBFree.org.