Background: Chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis B-associated liver cancer is a major health disparity among Vietnamese Americans, who have a chronic hepatitis B prevalence rate of 7-14% and an incidence rate for liver cancer six times that of non-Latino whites.
Objective: Describe factors associated with hepatitis B testing among Vietnamese Americans.
Design: A population-based telephone survey conducted in 2007-2008.
Participants: Vietnamese Americans age 18-64 and living in the Northern California and Washington, DC areas (N = 1,704).
Main measures: Variables included self-reports of sociodemographics, health care factors, and hepatitis B-related behaviors, knowledge, beliefs, and communication with others. The main outcome variable was self-reported receipt of hepatitis B testing.
Key results: The cooperation rate was 63.1% and the response rate was 27.4%. Only 62% of respondents reported having received a hepatitis B test and 26%, hepatitis B vaccination. Only 54% knew that hepatitis B could be transmitted by sexual intercourse. In multivariable analyses, factors negatively associated with testing included: age 30-49 years, US residence for >10 years, less Vietnamese fluency, lower income, and believing that hepatitis B can be deadly. Factors positively associated with testing included: Northern California residence, having had hepatitis B vaccination, having discussed hepatitis B with family/friends, and employer requested testing. Physician recommendation of hepatitis B testing (OR 4.46, 95% CI 3.36, 5.93) and respondent's request for hepatitis B testing (OR 8.37, 95% CI 5.95, 11.78) were strongly associated with test receipt.
Conclusion: Self-reports of hepatitis B testing among Vietnamese Americans remain unacceptably low. Physician recommendation and patient request were the factors most strongly associated with test receipt. A comprehensive effort is needed to promote hepatitis B testing in this population, including culturally-targeted community outreach, increased access to testing, and physician education.