Hong Kong Med J 2010;16:463–9 | Number 6, December 2010
Public awareness of hepatitis B infection: a population-based telephone survey in Hong Kong
CM Leung, WH Wong, KH Chan, Lawrence SW Lai, YW Luk, JY Lai, YW Yeung, WH Hui
Department of Medicine, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Chai Wan, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To test our hypothesis that there is inadequate knowledge and awareness of hepatitis B infection among the general population in Hong Kong.
DESIGN. A random telephone survey using a structured multiple-choice questionnaire.
SETTING. Hong Kong community.
PARTICIPANTS. Hong Kong residents aged 18 years or above.
RESULTS. A total of 506 respondents were successfully interviewed in February 2010. Approximately half of respondents (55%) were aware that hepatitis B virus is the most common cause of chronic viral hepatitis in Hong Kong. Regarding knowledge about the mode of transmission, mother-to-infant transmission and blood contact were recognised as risk factors by 67% and 65% of respondents, respectively. Transmission by sexual contact, sharing a razor or toothbrush, and tattooing or body piercing were appreciated by 44%, 41%, and 37% of respondents, respectively. A majority (73%) had the mistaken belief that the virus is transmitted by eating contaminated seafood. Over half of respondents (53%) knew nothing about the clinical presentation of acute hepatitis B. Only 35% of respondents realised that periodic abdominal ultrasonographic examinations are indicated for asymptomatic hepatitis B carriers. While 51% of respondents reported being tested for hepatitis B virus infection, only 36% acknowledged being vaccinated against the infection. Education level, occupation, and marital status were factors associated with both hepatitis B virus screening and vaccination.
CONCLUSION. These findings support our hypothesis that there is inadequate knowledge and awareness about hepatitis B infection in the general population in Hong Kong.
Key words: Awareness; Health knowledge, attitudes, practice; Health surveys; Hepatitis B
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