Professor Samuel So established the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University to increase hepatitis B and liver cancer awareness. The ALC launched the Jade Ribbon Campaign to emphasize the eradication of hepatitis B and, in turn, reduce the number of those fatally infected by liver cancer. Additionally, Team HBV is the outreach branch of the ALC, organizing collegiate and high school chapters to aid in raising awareness.
At the beginning of August, from the 2nd to the 5th, the 15th Annual Youth Leadership Conference was held at Stanford. I was one of the hundred blessed participants who had the opportunity to attend this four-day conference, which offered notable speakers and interactive workshops that focused on Asian Pacific Islander health and emphasized leadership. Although I was already a member of one of the Team HBV chapters worldwide, it was unsettling to relearn the statistics of hepatitis B and its fatal consequences.
Hepatitis B is a very common yet overlooked disease, hence its infamy as a “silent killer”. Hepatitis B is a major cause of death due to liver cancer and liver cirrhosis, especially targeting Asians and Pacific Islanders. It has been revealed that one in twelve APIs is chronically infected with HBV.
It is common even for doctors to be ignorant of this incurable virus. It should be a high concern that although it is seven times more common and a hundred times more infectious than HIV, hepatitis B is not even talked about in the doctor’s office. There is also no cure for hepatitis B and its symptoms do not show up until it is too late. However, one can prevent infection of the hepatitis B infection and liver cancer by getting vaccinated; it only takes three shots for life.
On the last day of the conference, each team presented their product, a promotional strategy for the JoinJade campaign to ultimately aid in eliminating hepatitis B. Strategies included social media platforms, app development, product creation and design, and other forms of advertisements. However, it is important to note that one does not need to apply for the Youth Leadership Conference, fly out to Stanford, and create a promotional strategy to spread awareness of hepatitis B and liver cancer. Anyone and everyone can easily reach out and get involved in the Jade Ribbon Campaign.
So to the wonderful readers of this article, make sure to ask your doctor about taking a blood test to see if you are immune to hepatitis B. Spread awareness of HBV by using the hashtag #joinjade on social media as well as word of mouth to your family, friends, and neighbors. And remember, it only takes three shots for life.