HBV Outreach Programs Significantly Increase Knowledge and Vaccination Rates Among Asian Pacific Islanders
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- Zacharias, T., Wang, W., Dao, D. et al. J Community Health (2015) 40: 619. doi:10.1007/s10900-014-9975-y
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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) testing and vaccination rates remain low among Asian-American/Pacific Islanders (APIs) despite high rates of HBV infection. The aim of our study was to assess the effectiveness of an outreach campaign to increase HBV knowledge, testing, and vaccination among a cohort of APIs. Vietnamese Americans were invited to participate in a free HBV screening and vaccination outreach program though pubic service announcements. Attendees completed a survey to assess barriers to vaccination and HBV-related knowledge before and after a 30-min education session by a bilingual board-certified gastroenterologist. Among 98 participants, 100 % (22/22) of HBV naïve patients were provided a HBV vaccination series at no cost and over 75 % (14/18) of HBV-infected patients were connected to further medical care. Notable reported barriers to prior testing and/or vaccination were cost of the vaccine, concern about missing work for evaluation, and lack of provider recommendation. Knowledge levels about HBV risk factors, potential consequences, and treatment options were poor at baseline but significantly increased after the education session (49 vs. 64 %, p < 0.001). Outreach campaigns linked with education can successfully address several barriers to HBV testing and offer an approach to improve HBV awareness and prevention among difficult-to-reach populations.