May is viral hepatitis awareness month and in its recognition the Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington (HBCW) hosted its’s annual forum on hepatitis B on May 23, 2017, at the New Holly Gathering Hall in South Seattle. This year’s theme was “ending the silence on hepatitis B”. The forum was highlighted by a showing of a documentary on hepatitis B titled “BE ABOUT IT” featuring two families’ struggle with the diseases. Following the documentary, those in attendance broke into small groups and discussed how the story related to them, their community/ and their work, what stood out the most to them in the movie, what lessons they take away and share with their respective communities, and how they could continue to raise hepatitis B awareness in their communities.
In addition to finding the documentary informative and an effective tool to raise hepatitis B awareness in the communities, attendees felt that it “put human face to the disease and felt that they could relate to the story in many ways such as its focus on family, family support, cost, loss, resilience, stigma, the emotional impact of the disease, the importance of vaccines and promotion of immunization. Many expressed the need for the documentary to be translated into languages spoken by the communities and for it to be shown on smaller settings such as community centers and households.
Before the showing of the documentary, attendees enjoyed taking pictures with the Hepatitis B United (a national partner of HBCW) mascot Oliver and visited information booths that displayed information about HBCW’s member partners.