Background: Hepatitis C (HCV) is the predominant cause of chronic liver disease in the USA and is increasingly recognized as a common cause of liver disease in China. Studies of HCV patients in the US found major gaps in knowledge but little is known about HCV knowledge among patients in China.
Methods: We conducted a survey in three cohorts of HCV patients in Ann Arbor, MI, US, and in Beijing and Hebei, China, between April and November 2012 to compare patient knowledge about HCV in the US and in urban and rural China.
Results: A total of 525 patients (US 186; Beijing 186; Hebei 153) were enrolled. Mean ages of the three cohorts ranged from 52-56 years; 63% of US and 47% of Chinese patients were males; 63% of US and 39% of Beijing patients had college or postgraduate education compared to 0.7% in Hebei. More than half of the US and Beijing patients but only 13% of Hebei patients had received HCV treatment. The average HCV knowledge score out of a total of 16 in the US, Beijing, and Hebei was 12.7, 11.7, and 6.4, respectively (p < 0.001). Study site, education, gender, and prior HCV treatment were independent predictors of HCV knowledge.
Conclusions: Knowledge about HCV in the US and Beijing patients was similar and significantly better than in Hebei patients. Our data show that efforts to improve HCV knowledge are necessary for all three cohorts and should be tailored to the education level and health literacy of the patients.