Objectives: Several Asian-American groups are at a higher risk of dying of liver diseases attributable to hepatitis-B infection. This culturally diverse community should be well informed of and protected against liver diseases. The present study assesses the knowledge of hepatitis B before and after a hepatitis-B educational program and determines the infection status of an Asian community.
Methods: Nine Asian communities of Montgomery County, MD, enrolled in the hepatitis-B prevention program between 2005 and 2006. They attended culturally tailored lectures on prevention, completed self-administered pre- and posttests, and received blood screening for the disease.
Results: More than 800 Asian Americans participated in the study. Knowledge of prevention was improved after educational delivery. The average infection rate was 4.5%, with Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean groups having higher infection rates. The age group of 36-45 had the highest percentage of carriers (9.1%).
Conclusion: Many Asian groups, particularly those of a southeast Asian decent, were subject to a higher probability of hepatitis-B infection. At an increased risk are first-generation Asian immigrants, groups with low immunization rates and those aged 36-45. The findings provide potential directions for focusing preventive interventions on at-risk Asian communities to reduce liver cancer disparities.