Women of Southeast Asian descent have higher cervical cancer incidence rates than any other group. Widespread use of HPV vaccination could prevent up to 70% of cervical cancers. There is little published information addressing HPV vaccination uptake among Asian Americans. We conducted a survey of Cambodian women with daughters who were age-eligible for HPV vaccination. Survey items addressed HPV vaccination barriers, facilitators, and uptake. Only 26% of the survey participants reported any of their age-eligible daughters had received vaccination, and only 40% reported a previous physician recommendation for vaccination. Higher levels of vaccine uptake were strongly associated with having received a doctor's recommendation for vaccination (P<0.001) and having asked a doctor for vaccination (p=0.002). HPV vaccine uptake was relatively low in our Cambodian study group. Educational initiatives should encourage health care providers who serve Cambodian families to recommend HPV vaccination and empower Cambodian mothers to ask their daughters' doctors for vaccination.
Cambodian Americans have an elevated risk of liver cancer. This health disparity is attributable to high rates of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Our study examined factors associated with HBV testing among Cambodian men and women.
A population-based survey was conducted in the Seattle area. The Health Behavior Framework guided our survey instrument development. We attempted to interview a man and a woman in each household.
The sample included 300 men and 367 women. About one-half of the male (45%) and female (54%) respondents had been tested for HBV. Two factors were independently associated with testing among men and women: a doctor had recommended testing and had asked a doctor for testing. Knowing that someone who looks and feels healthy can spread HBV was independently associated with testing among men.
Low levels of HBV testing remain a public health problem among Cambodians. Interventions should improve patient-provider communication by encouraging providers who serve Cambodians to recommend HBV testing, as well as by empowering Cambodians to ask for testing.
Cambodian Americans; Hepatitis B Testing; Immigrant Health; Liver Cancer
The introduction of HPV vaccines represents a breakthrough in the primary prevention of cervical cancer. However, little is known about vaccination uptake and correlates among U.S. low-income, ethnic minority and immigrant populations who may benefit most from the vaccine.
Telephone interviews (N=490) were conducted in six languages between January and November 2009 among mothers of vaccine-eligible girls (ages 9–18) using the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Women’s Health service referral hotline. HPV and vaccine awareness, knowledge, beliefs, barriers, and daughter’s vaccine receipt were assessed.
The sample consisted of low-income, uninsured, ethnic minority and immigrant women. Only 29% of daughters initiated the vaccine and 11% received all three doses. No ethnic differences were observed in initiation or completion rates. Ethnic differences were observed in HPV awareness, perceived risk, and other immunization related beliefs. The strongest predictor of initiation was vaccine awareness (OR=12.00). Daughter’s age and reporting a younger acceptable age for vaccination were positively associated with initiation. Mothers of unvaccinated girls reported lacking information about the vaccine to make a decision (66%) and not knowing where they could obtain the vaccine (74%).
Vaccination rates in this sample were lower than state and national estimates, and were associated with low levels of vaccine awareness. Interventions, including culturally targeted messaging, may be helpful for enhancing HPV vaccine knowledge, modifying vaccine-related beliefs and increasing uptake.
Our findings provide valuable guidance for developing interventions to address sub-optimal HPV vaccination in high risk groups.
HPV vaccine; cervical cancer prevention; minorities; health disparities; low-income
Regular physical activity produces various health benefits; however, relatively few adults in the United States (US) get enough physical activity. Little is known about physical activity behaviors, and barriers and facilitators to physical activity among Cambodian-Americans. Cambodian Americans were recruited from community venues to participate in one-on-one interviews and focus groups. A total of 20 adults (10 women and 10 men) participated in one-on-one interviews and 37 adults (23 women and 14 men) participated in one of four focus groups. Fifteen of the 20 interviews and all the focus groups were conducted in Khmer. Participants were generally born in Cambodia and over two-thirds had a high school education or less. About one-half of the participants met or exceeded the 2008 US Department of Health and Human Services physical activity guidelines. Commonly reported types of physical activity were walking, running, and working out at the gym. Barriers to physical activity included lack of time, inconvenient work hours, and family responsibilities. Perceived benefits of physical activity included improved health, improved appearance, and reductions in stress. Sweating caused by physical activity was thought to produce a variety of health benefits. Data from this qualitative study could be used to inform the development of culturally-relevant physical activity survey measures and culturally-relevant physical activity interventions for Cambodian Americans.
Physical activity; Asian Americans; Cambodian Americans; qualitative research
Surname lists are increasingly being used to identify Asian study participants. Two Vietnamese surname lists have previously been published: the Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Program (VCHPP) list and the Lauderdale list. This report provides findings from a descriptive analysis of the performance of these lists in identifying Vietnamese. To identify participants for a survey of Vietnamese women, a surname list (that included names that appear on the VCHPP list and/or Lauderdale list) was applied to the Seattle telephone book. We analyzed surname data for all addresses in the survey sample, as well as survey respondents. The VCHPP list identified 4,283 potentially Vietnamese households, and 79% of the households with established ethnicity were Vietnamese; and the Lauderdale list identified 4,068 potentially Viet-namese households, and 80% of the households with established ethnicity were Vietnamese. However, the proportions of contacted households that were Vietnamese varied significantly among commonly occurring surnames. The characteristics of women with surnames on the VCHPP and Lauderdale lists were equivalent. The two lists performed equally well in identifying Vietnamese households. Researchers might consider using different combinations of Vietnamese surnames, depending on whether accuracy or high population coverage is the more important consideration.
Vietnamese; Surname lists
Liver cancer occurs more frequently among Americans of Southeast Asian descent than any other group. This health disparity can be attributed to high rates of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. We examined HBV awareness, knowledge about HBV transmission, HBV testing levels, and HBV vaccination levels among Cambodian Americans.
A population-based survey was conducted in metropolitan Seattle during 2010. The study sample included 667 individuals. We created a composite knowledge score (0–9) by summing the number of correct answers to survey items addressing HBV transmission. Data were analyzed using Generalized Estimating Equations.
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 prepared by an infected person, can be spread during childbirth, and can be spread during sexual intercourse were only 33%, 69%, and 72%, respectively. The mean knowledge score was 5.5 (standard deviation 1.7). Fifty percent of the survey respondents had been tested and 52% had been vaccinated. HBV awareness, higher knowledge scores, and vaccination were all associated (p<0.05) with younger age, higher educational level, younger age at immigration, and greater English proficiency.
Our study findings confirm the need for Khmer language HBV programs for less acculturated and educated members of the Cambodian community. Such programs should aim to increase HBV testing rates, HBV vaccination rates among individuals who remain susceptible to infection, and levels of knowledge about routes of hepatitis B transmission.
Cambodian Americans; hepatitis B; immigrant health; liver cancer
Chinese American immigrants are a growing part of the United States population. Cervical cancer is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among Chinese Americans. Pap smear testing is less common in Chinese American immigrants than in the general population. During 1999, we conducted a community-based survey of Chinese American women living in Seattle. We assessed knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors and history of Pap smear testing along with socioeconomic and acculturation characteristics. The overall estimated response rate was 64%, and the cooperation rate was 72%. Our study sample included 472 women. Most cervical cancer risk factors were recognized by less than half of our participants. Factors independently associated with knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors included marital status, employment, and education. Respondents with the highest knowledge had greater odds of ever receiving a Pap smear, compared to those respondents with the lowest knowledge (OR 2.5; 95% CI: 1.1,5.8). Our findings suggest a need for increased recognition of cervical cancer risk factors among Chinese American immigrants. Culturally and linguistically appropriate educational interventions for cervical cancer risk factors should be developed, implemented and evaluated.
cervix neoplasms; Chinese Americans; risk factors
We examined levels of Pap testing and factors associated with screening participation among Cambodian refugees.
A community-based, in-person survey was conducted in Seattle during late 1997 and early 1998. Interviews were completed by 413 women; the estimated response rate was 73%. We classified respondents into four Pap testing stages of adoption: precontemplation/contemplation (never screened), relapse (ever screened but did not plan to be screened in the future), action (ever screened and planned to be screened in the future), and maintenance (recently screened and planned to be screened in the future). Bivariate and multivariate techniques were used to examine various factors.
About one-quarter (24%) of the respondents has never been screened, and a further 22% had been screened but did not plan to obtain Pap tests in the future. Fifteen percent were in the action stage and 39% were in the maintenance stage. The following factors were independently associated with cervical cancer screening stages: previous physician recommendation; younger age; beliefs about Pap testing for post-menopausal women, screening for sexually inactive women, and regular checkups; provider ethnicity; prenatal care in the US; and problems finding interpreters.
Our findings confirm low Pap testing rates among Cambodian immigrants, and suggest that targeted interventions should be multifaceted.
Southeast Asians have higher liver cancer rates than any other racial/ethnic group in the US. Approximately 80 percent of liver cancers are etiologically associated with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection which is endemic in Southeast Asia. An in-person survey of Cambodian women (n = 320) was conducted in Seattle, Washington, during 1999. The questionnaire included items about HBV knowledge, beliefs, and practices. Prior to being provided with a description of the disease, only about one-half (56 percent) of our respondents had heard of HBV infection. Less than one-quarter (23 percent) of the study group thought that asymptomatic individuals can transmit the disease to others. Most thought that HBV infection can cause liver cancer (54 percent) and death (72 percent). However, a minority thought that infection can be lifelong (24 percent) and incurable (15 percent). Only 38 percent reported they had been serologically tested for HBV. Finally, of those who had been tested and thought they were susceptible, two-thirds (67 percent) had not been vaccinated. Lower levels of education were associated with lower levels of HBV knowledge and serologic testing. Our findings suggest that Cambodian immigrants have low levels of HBV knowledge, serologic testing, and vaccination; and demonstrate a need for targeted educational interventions aimed at reducing HBV-related liver cancer mortality among Southeast Asian communities.
hepatitis B; liver cancer; Cambodian Americans
We conducted a trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a cervical cancer control intervention for Vietnamese women.
The study group included 234 women who had not received a Pap test in the last three years. Experimental group participants received a lay health worker home visit. Our trial end-point was Pap smear receipt within six months of randomization. Pap testing completion was ascertained through women's self-reports and medical record reviews. We examined intervention effects among women who had ever received a Pap smear (prior to randomization) and women who had never received a Pap smear.
Three-quarters of the experimental group women completed a home visit. Ever screened experimental group women were significantly more likely to report Pap testing (p<0.02) and have records verified Pap testing (p<0.04) than ever screened control group women. There were no significant differences between the trial arms for women who had never been screened.
Our findings indicate that lay health worker interventions for Vietnamese women are feasible to implement and can positively impact levels of Pap testing use among ever screened women (but not never screened women).
Asian Americans; Cancer; Screening
Hepatocellular cancer occurs more frequently among Koreans, Vietnamese, and Chinese than other racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. This excess risk can be attributed to high rates of chronic hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection and low rates of HBV vaccination among Asian immigrants. However, there is little available information regarding the hepatitis B knowledge, beliefs, and practices among Koreans, the fifth-largest Asian population in the U.S. This brief report summarizes results from 30 qualitative interviews and two focus groups investigating hepatitis and liver cancer prevention, behavior, and beliefs among first-generation Korean immigrant adults ages 18–64 years residing in the Seattle–Tacoma metropolitan area of Washington State. The report concludes with suggestions for future investigations to address the high rates of chronic HBV infection and hepatocellular cancer in this vulnerable population.
AANCART; cancer; Korean Americans; hepatitis B; vaccination; hepatocellular CA; qualitative research; serologic tests
To conduct a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the cost effectiveness of a lay health worker-administered cervical cancer screening intervention for Vietnamese-American women.
The study group included 234 Vietnamese women in the Seattle, Washington area who had not received a Pap test in the last three years. Experimental group participants received a lay health worker home visit. The travel distance and time spent at each visit were recorded. Our trial end-point was Pap smear receipt within six months of randomization. Pap testing completion was ascertained through medical record reviews.
For all Vietnamese women, regardless of their prior history of screening, the cost per intervention was $104.0 (95% CI: $89.6–$118.4). The change in quality-adjusted life days per intervention was 1.26 (95% CI: −5.43–7.96), resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $30,015 per quality-adjusted life year. The probability that the ICER exceeds $100,000 is 9.1%.
The degree of cost effectiveness of such interventions is sensitive to the assumed duration of behavioral change and the participants’ prior history of screening.
Cervical cancer; screening; cost effectiveness; lay health worker
Asian immigrants to the U.S. have an increased prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection compared to native born individuals; an estimated 10 percent of Chinese immigrants are infected with HBV. Using qualitative data from focus groups, we developed an English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) curriculum that aimed to improve knowledge about key hepatitis B facts. The curriculum was pilot-tested among 56 students aged 50 and older from intermediate-level ESL classes at a community-based organization that serves Chinese immigrants. Post-curriculum data showed increases in knowledge that hepatitis B can cause liver cancer (73% at pre-test vs. 91% at post-test; p value = 0.01) and that individuals can be infected with hepatitis B for life (34% vs. 81%; p value <0.0001). These findings suggest that an ESL curriculum can successfully improve knowledge about the severity of hepatitis B and its routes of transmission among older Chinese American adults.
HEPATITIS B; ESL CURRICULA; HEALTH LITERACY; CHINESE AMERICANS; HEPATITIS A
Recent US data indicate that women of Vietnamese descent have higher cervical cancer incidence rates than women of any other race/ethnicity, and lower levels of Pap testing than white, black, and Latina women. Our objective was to provide information about Pap testing barriers and facilitators that could be used to develop cervical cancer control intervention programs for Vietnamese American women.
We conducted a cross-sectional, community-based survey of Vietnamese immigrants. Our study was conducted in metropolitan Seattle, Washington. A total of 1,532 Vietnamese American women participated in the study. Demographic, health care, and knowledge/belief items associated with previous cervical cancer screening participation (ever screened and screened according to interval screening guidelines) were examined.
Eighty-one percent of the respondents had been screened for cervical cancer in the previous three years. Recent Pap testing was strongly associated (p<0.001) with having a regular doctor, having a physical in the last year, previous physician recommendation for testing, and having asked a physician for testing. Women whose regular doctor was a Vietnamese man were no more likely to have received a recent Pap smear than those with no regular doctor.
Our findings indicate that cervical cancer screening disparities between Vietnamese and other racial/ethnic groups are decreasing. Efforts to further increase Pap smear receipt in Vietnamese American communities should enable women without a source of health care to find a regular provider. Additionally, intervention programs should improve patient-provider communication by encouraging health care providers (especially male Vietnamese physicians serving women living in ethnic enclaves) to recommend Pap testing, as well as by empowering Vietnamese women to specifically ask their physicians for Pap testing.
Cervical cancer; Immigrants; Pap testing; Vietnamese
The cervical cancer incidence rate among Cambodian American women is 15.0 per 100,000, compared to 7.7 per 100,000 among non-Latina white women. HPV infection has been identified as a universal risk factor for cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine was recently approved in the United States for females aged 9–26 years. There is little information about HPV vaccination knowledge and beliefs in Southeast Asian communities.
We conducted 13 key informant interviews with Cambodian community leaders, as well as four focus groups with Cambodian parents (37 participants). Two of the focus groups included fathers and two of the focus groups included mothers. Interview and focus group questions addressed HPV vaccine barriers and facilitators.
Participants had limited knowledge about HPV infection and the HPV vaccine. Barriers to HPV vaccination included a lack of information about the vaccine, as well as concerns about vaccine safety, effectiveness, and financial costs. The most important facilitators were a health care provider recommendation for vaccination and believing in the importance of disease prevention.
Future cervical cancer control educational programs for Cambodians should promote use of the HPV vaccine for age-eligible individuals. Health care providers who serve Cambodian communities should be encouraged to recommend HPV vaccination.
Cervical cancer; Cambodian Americans; HPV vaccine
Cambodian immigrants are over 25 times more likely to have evidence of chronic hepatitis B infection than the general US population. Carriers of HBV are over 100 times more likely to develop liver cancer than non-carriers. Liver cancer incidence is the second leading cancer for Cambodian men and the sixth for Cambodian women. Despite this, this underserved population has received very little attention from health disparities researchers. Culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions are necessary to increase hepatitis B knowledge, serologic testing, and vaccination among Cambodian Americans. Eight group interviews were held with Cambodian American men (48) and women (49). Focus group discussion revealed unanticipated information about sociocultural influences on participants’ understanding about hepatitis B transmission, disease course, and prevention and treatment informed by humoral theories underlying Khmer medicine, by biomedicine, and by migration experiences. Our findings reveal the value of qualitative exploration to providing cultural context to biomedical information—a formula for effective health promotion and practice.
Cambodian immigrants; Hepatitis B; Qualitative research
According to recent census data, 1,216,600 Canadians are of Chinese descent, and over 80% of Chinese Canadians are foreign born. Approximately 10% of Chinese immigrants are chronic carriers of hepatitis B, compared with less than 0.5% of the general population. English as a second language (ESL) classes provide ready access for individuals with limited English proficiency who are not reached by English language health education materials and media campaigns. We conducted a group-randomized trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a hepatitis B ESL educational curriculum for Chinese immigrants.
Five community-based organizations that provide ESL education in the greater Vancouver area participated in the study. Forty-one ESL classes (which included 325 Chinese students) were randomly assigned to experimental or control status. A follow-up survey, conducted six months after randomization, assessed knowledge about hepatitis B. Generalized estimating equations were used to analyze the data.
Follow-up surveys were completed by 298 (92%) of the students. At follow-up, experimental group students were significantly (p<0.05) more likely than control group students to know that immigrants have higher hepatitis B infection rates than people who were born in Canada; hepatitis B can be spread during childbirth, during sexual intercourse and by sharing razors; hepatitis B is not spread by sharing eating utensils; and hepatitis B infection can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Our findings indicate that ESL curricula can have a positive impact on health knowledge among Chinese immigrants with limited English. Future research should evaluate the effectiveness of ESL curricula for other immigrant groups, as well as other health topics.
Chinese; health education; hepatitis B
Chinese immigrants in Canada have a disproportionately high risk for hepatitis B compared with non-Hispanic whites. Hepatitis B is the leading cause of hepatocellular carcinoma among Asian immigrants to North America. English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are an effective way of reaching newly immigrated individuals and are a potential channel for delivering health messages.
Using data from six focus groups among ESL instructors and students, we characterized perceptions about activities that are successfully used in ESL classrooms and strategies for delivering hepatitis B information.
Instructors and students generally reported that activities which focused on speaking and listening skills and that addressed content relevant to students' daily lives were successful in the classroom. Instructors generally avoided material that was irrelevant or too difficult to understand. Focus group participants offered strategies for delivering hepatitis B information in ESL classrooms; these strategies included addressing symptoms and prevention, and not singling out a specific population subgroup in order to avoid stigmatization.
These findings might assist efforts to develop ESL curricula that target immigrant populations.
Hepatitis B; ESL; Chinese Canadians; curricula; focus groups
Chinese immigrants to North America experience cancer-related health disparities and underutilize preventive care. Little is known about Chinese immigrants' sources of health information.
A population-based survey of Chinese immigrants was conducted in Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington.
The study group included 899 individuals. Less than three-quarters of the respondents reported receiving health information from healthcare providers and only a minority used the Internet as a source of health information. We found significant differences between the sources of health information in Seattle and Vancouver.
Health educators should consider available media outlets as well as the characteristics of a target community when planning intervention programs for Chinese immigrants.
Census data show that the US Vietnamese population now exceeds 1,250,000. Cervical cancer among Vietnamese American women has been identified as an important health disparity. Available data indicate the cervical cancer disparity may be due to low Pap testing rates rather than variations in HPV infection rates and/or types. The cervical cancer incidence rates among Vietnamese and non-Latina white women in California during 2000–2002 were 14.0 and 7.3 per 100,000, respectively. Only 70% of Vietnamese women who participated in the 2003 California Health Interview Survey reported a recent Pap smear, compared to 84% of non-Latina white women. Higher levels of cervical cancer screening participation among Vietnamese women are strongly associated with current/previous marriage, having a usual source of care/doctor, and previous physician recommendation. Vietnamese language media campaigns and lay health worker intervention programs have been effective in increasing Pap smear use in Vietnamese American communities. Cervical cancer control programs for Vietnamese women should address knowledge deficits; enable women who are without a usual source of care to find a primary care doctor; and improve patient-provider communication by encouraging health care providers to recommend Pap testing, as well as by empowering women to ask for testing.
Cervical cancer; Pap testing; Vietnamese Americans
Regular physical activity reduces the risk of many chronic conditions. Multiple studies have shown that Asians in North America engage in less physical activity than the general population. One area for strategic development in the area of health education is the design and evaluation of English as a second language (ESL) curricula. The PRECEDE model and findings from focus groups were used to develop a physical activity ESL curriculum for Chinese immigrants. In general, focus group participants recognized that physical activity contributes to physical and mental wellbeing. However, the benefits of physical activity were most commonly described in terms of improved blood circulation, immune responses, digestion, and reflexes. The importance of peer pressure and the encouragement of friends in adhering to regular physical activity regimens were mentioned frequently. Reported barriers to regular physical activity included lack of time, weather conditions, and financial costs. The ESL curriculum aims to both promote physical activity and improve knowledge, and includes seven different ESL exercises. Our curriculum development methods could be replicated for other health education topics and in other limited English-speaking populations.
Chinese immigrants; English as a second language (ESL); health education; physical activity
Chinese immigrants to North America have substantially higher rates of chronic hepatitis B infection than the general population. One area for strategic development in the field of health education is the design and evaluation of English-as-a-Second language (ESL) curricula. The theoretical perspective of the Health Behavior Framework, results from a community-based survey of Chinese Canadian immigrants with limited English proficiency, and findings from focus groups of ESL instructors as well as Chinese ESL students were used to develop a hepatitis B ESL educational module. This research was conducted in Vancouver, British Columbia. Survey data showed that less than three-fifths of the respondents had been tested for hepatitis B, and documented some important hepatitis B knowledge deficits. Further, only about one-quarter had ever received a physician recommendation for hepatitis B serologic testing. The ESL curriculum aims to both promote hepatitis B testing and improve knowledge, and includes seven different ESL exercises: Warm-up, vocabulary cards, information-gap, video, jigsaw, guided discussion, and problem/advice cards. Our quantitative and qualitative methods for curriculum development could be replicated for other health education topics and in other limited English speaking populations.
Chinese immigrants; English as a second language (ESL); Health education; Hepatitis B
Cervical cancer occurs more frequently among Vietnamese Americans than women of any other race/ethnicity. In addition, previous studies in California have documented low Papanicolaou (Pap) testing rates in Vietnamese communities. This study focused on health care system factors and physician characteristics associated with recent cervical cancer screening among Vietnamese women. A population-based survey was conducted in Seattle during 2002. In-person interviews were conducted by bilingual, bicultural female survey workers. The survey response rate was 82% and 518 women were included in the analysis. Seventy-four percent of the respondents reported having been screened for cervical cancer on at least one occasion, and 64% reported a Pap smear within the previous 2 years. Women with a regular doctor were more likely to have been recently screened than those without a regular doctor (OR = 2.33, 95% CI = 1.45–3.74). Among those with a regular doctor, having a male physician, receiving care at a private doctor’s office (rather than a community, hospital, or multi-specialty clinic), and concern about the cost of health care were independently associated with lower screening rates. Physician ethnicity was not associated with recent Pap smear receipt. The findings support targeted interventions for Vietnamese women without a regular physician and private doctors’ offices that serve Vietnamese Americans. The availability of low cost screening services should be publicized in Vietnamese communities.
cervical cancer; immigrants; Pap testing; Vietnamese
Southeast Asians have higher rates of liver cancer than any other racial/ethnic group in the United States. Chronic carriage of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the most common underlying cause of liver cancer in the majority of Asian populations. Our objectives were to describe Vietnamese Americans’ awareness of hepatitis B, levels of HBV testing, and knowledge about hepatitis B transmission; and to compare the HBV knowledge and practices of men and women. A community-based, in-person survey of Vietnamese men and women was conducted in Seattle during 2002. Seven hundred and fifteen individuals (345 men and 370 women) completed the questionnaire. Eighty-one percent of the respondents had heard of hepatitis B (76% of men, 86% of women) and 67% reported HBV testing (66% of men, 68% of women). A majority of the participants knew that HBV can be transmitted during sexual intercourse (71% of men, 68% of women), by sharing toothbrushes (67% of men, 77% of women), and by sharing razors (59% of men, 67% of women). Less than one-half knew that hepatitis B is not spread by eating food prepared by an infected person (46% of men, 27% of women), nor by coughing (39% of men, 25% of women). One-third of our respondents did not recall being tested for HBV. Important knowledge deficits about routes of hepatitis B transmission were identified. Continued efforts should be made to develop and implement hepatitis B educational campaigns for Vietnamese immigrant communities. These efforts might be tailored to male and female audiences.
hepatitis B; liver cancer; Vietnamese Americans
Vietnamese American men are over 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer than their white counterparts. This health disparity is attributable to high rates of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Our study objective was to examine factors associated with HBV testing among Vietnamese men. A population-based survey was conducted in Seattle. The questionnaire content was guided by an earlier qualitative study and the Health Behavior Framework. The survey was completed by 345 men (response rate: 80%). About one-third (34%) of the respondents reported they had not been tested for HBV. The following factors were associated (P < 0.01) with previous testing in bivariate comparisons: having a regular source of care and regular provider; knowing that HBV can be spread during childbirth; believing HBV can cause liver cancer; and doctor(s) had recommended testing as well as had asked doctor(s) for testing. Three variables were independently associated with HBV testing in a logistic regression model: regular source of care (OR = 4.5; 95% CI = 2.6–7.9), physician recommendation (OR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.3–4.0), and knowing HBV can be spread during childbirth (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.2–3.9). Low levels of HBV testing remain a public health problem in some Vietnamese American sub-groups. Health education about HBV transmission may stimulate patients to seek testing. Intervention programs should specifically target Vietnamese men without a regular source of health care and physicians who serve Vietnamese communities.
Health behavior framework; Hepatitis B testing; Immigrant health; Liver cancer; Vietnamese Americans