Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer Knowledge and Preventive Practices among Asian Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area, California


Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection causes liver cancer and disproportionately affects the Asiancommunity in the U.S. In order to advance HBV and liver cancer awareness and prevention, it is important toidentify existing gaps in knowledge and preventive practices among Asian Americans. Therefore, the authorsadministered a written questionnaire to 199 adults in the Asian-American community of the San Francisco BayArea, California. Although the majority of adults had at least a college education, knowledge regarding HBVtransmission, prevention, symptoms, risks, and occurrence was low. Fewer than 60% reported having been testedfor HBV, only 31% reported having been vaccinated against HBV, and only 44% reported having had theirchildren vaccinated. Asians, especially those born in China or Southeast Asia, had significantly poorer knowledgeregarding HBV and liver cancer than non-Asians. Those with higher knowledge levels were significantly morelikely to have been tested for HBV and to have had their children vaccinated. Younger adults, women, Caucasians,more highly educated individuals, those not born in China or Hong Kong, and those with a personal or familyhistory of liver disease were more likely to have taken preventive action against HBV. Our results suggest thatHBV and liver cancer knowledge among Asian Americans, especially Chinese Americans, is poor, and that betterknowledge is associated with increased preventive practices. Thus, there is a need for increased HBV educationand improved community-based interventions to prevent HBV-related liver disease in the high-risk Asian-Americancommunity.