New Ad Campaign Urges Asian Americans to Get Tested for Hepatitis B

This strikingly cheery advertisement (photo to the right) of 10 smiling Asian American women beautifully dressed in traditional gowns becomes instantly sobering when you glance at the bold question printed on the bottom left: “Which one deserves to die?” According to health officials, as many as one in 10 residents of Asian descent in San Francisco are infected with hepatitis B, a virus that attacks the liver. Leaders in the Asian American community have said that it’s been difficult to communicate the severity of the disease because people don’t want to confront the issue and talk about it. But with this new ad campaign featuring 10 average, healthy-looking Asian American women, the message makes the disease less of a stigma and more relateable. We'd argue that the ad would be just as effective without the qipaos—we can clearly tell they are Asian without the smack-on-the-head reminder—but the good intentions are appreciated.

Hepatitis B can be contracted via exposure to infectious blood or bodily fluids that contain the infected blood. Risk factors include transmission during birth or by an infected family member, having unprotected sex, and infection through contaminated needles. Unfortunately, the symptoms of the disease aren’t as obvious and can lead to serious conditions, including liver cancer. But like any other disease, you can easily reduce your risk by simply getting tested. For more information about hepatitis B, you can go to www.thinkb.org. [via The New York Times]