Hepatitis B Knowledge and Practices among Cambodian Americans


Background: Liver cancer occurs more frequently among Americans of Southeast Asian descent than anyother group. This health disparity can be attributed to high rates of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Weexamined HBV awareness, knowledge about HBV transmission, HBV testing levels, and HBV vaccination levelsamong Cambodian Americans.
Methods: A population-based survey was conducted in metropolitan Seattleduring 2010. The study sample included 667 individuals. We created a composite knowledge score (0–9) bysumming the number of correct answers to survey items addressing HBV transmission. Data were analyzedusing Generalized Estimating Equations.
Results: Seventy-eight percent of the study group had heard of HBV(before it was described to them). The proportions who knew that HBV cannot be spread by eating food preparedby an infected person, can be spread during childbirth, and can be spread during sexual intercourse were only33%, 69%, and 72%, respectively. The mean knowledge score was 5.5 (standard deviation 1.7). Fifty percentof the survey respondents had been tested and 52% had been vaccinated. HBV awareness, higher knowledgescores, and vaccination were all associated (p<0.05) with younger age, higher educational level, younger ageat immigration, and greater English proficiency. Discussion: Our study findings confirm the need for Khmerlanguage HBV programs for less acculturated and educated members of the Cambodian community. Suchprograms should aim to increase HBV testing rates, HBV vaccination rates among individuals who remainsusceptible to infection, and levels of knowledge about routes of hepatitis B transmission.