Background: The implementation of a comprehensive public health response to hepatitis B in Australia is urgently required to reduce the increasing burden of hepatitis B infection on the health system and the community. A significant gap in the public health response to hepatitis B is an understanding of how people with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) respond to CHB.
Findings: A qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions was conducted. Interviews were held with 20 people with CHB from three states of Australia. In addition, four focus group discussions were held with a total of 40 community and health workers from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in four Australian states.People with CHB reported no formal or informal pre or post test discussion with little information about hepatitis B provided at the point of diagnosis. Knowledge deficits about hepatitis B were found among most participants. Few resources are available for people with CHB or their families to assist them in understanding the infection and promoting their health and well-being. A lack of confidence in the professional knowledge of service providers was noted throughout interviews.
Conclusions: People with CHB need culturally and linguistically appropriate education and information, particularly at the point of diagnosis. Primary health care professionals need the knowledge, skills and motivation to provide appropriate information to people with CHB, to ensure they have the capacity to better manage their infection.