Background: Routine screening for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection can identify individuals who need vaccination or treatment, as vaccination can prevent HBV infection. Although the overall prevalence of HBV infection in the United States is low (<1%), it is high (~10%) in Asian Americans. However, HBV screening rates in this population have been reported to be low.
Aims: This article systemically reviews the reported prevalence of HBV infection, the rate of HBV screening and access to HBV care, barriers for HBV screening and care, and a possible approach for improving HBV screening in Asian Americans.
Methods: Articles published from 1999 to 2011 on HBV screening and disparity in Asian Americans were identified by searching electronic databases (PubMed and Cochrane Library), and reviewed.
Results: Published studies, including a recent report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, revealed HBV screening rates are low in Asian Americans. This review addresses the need for HBV screening in Asian Americans. Barriers to HBV screening are related to patients, providers, and/or the healthcare system. Screening programs that incorporate culturally sensitive interventions and include educational outreach, vaccination, and a link to healthcare services improve rates of HBV screening and vaccination in this at-risk community.
Conclusions: A strategy that integrates efforts from the healthcare profession, federal agencies, and the community will be needed to improve HBV screening and access to HBV care for Asian Americans.