APHA Annual Meeting, October 2008 - Poster Presentation

Hepatitis B infection in Malaysian immigrants of New York City

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of HBsAg in Malaysia has been found to range from 1.5% to 5.2%. Little information is available among Malaysian immigrants in the U.S. in regarding HBV epidemiology, their risk exposures, knowledge, attitudes and practices towards hepatitis B.

METHODS: 548 Malaysian immigrants participated in a community-based large-scale screening conducted by Asian American Hepatitis B Program (AAHBP) during 2005-2007 in NYC. All screening participants were asked to take a survey before blood testing.

RESULTS: HBsAg Prevalence: The prevalence of HBsAg was 3.9% (95% CI: 1.6-5.2) among 349 newly-screened participants. Risk Exposures: 9.2% of survey respondents reported having a family member infected with HBV: Mother (2.6%), spouse (3.6%), other family contact (8.9%). 13.1% had received blood transfusion or blood products. 6.0% had tattoo. A smaller percentage(1.6%) reported sexual risk behaviors. Knowledge: Overall HBV knowledge was low with a mean score of 25 out of maximum100. Knowledge of HBV infection was positively associated with socio-economic status: education attainment and income. Healthcare Practices: Increased HBV knowledge was significantly related to prior HBV testing or vaccination, and willingness to open discussion with families or friends, and seek follow-up care or treatment if diagnosed with HBV infection. Those who had a regular doctor did not show higher knowledge than those who did not have one.

DISCUSSION: The overall HBV infection prevalence among Malaysian immigrants reflects the rate of infection within Malaysia. Education is much needed to raise the level of HBV knowledge among this population to influence their good practices towards hepatitis B.

Learning Objectives:
· Understand risk exposures, knowledge, attitudes and practices towards hepatitis B in specific API subgroups.
· Apply knowledge of these factors to future HBV outreach and educational programs.


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