Insight into Hepatitis B Prevalence and Risk Factors Among Vietnamese Americans: An Analysis of Data from a Community-Based Screening Program

Objectives: The aims of our study were to describe current hepatitis B prevalence among Vietnamese Americans and to examine predictors of hepatitis B risk in this specific ethnic community. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of data from a community-based screening program. Setting: This analysis was based on hepatitis screening community events in Southern California. Participants: 2508 Vietnamese Americans in Southern California. Outcome measures: Serological tests for hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis B surface antibody, and total hepatitis B core antibody were used to classify participants as one of four hepatitis B infection statuses: currently infected, previously infected, susceptible, or immune due to a previous hepatitis B vaccination. Results: Across 2508 participants, 9.0% were currently infected with hepatitis B and 17.7% were at risk for hepatitis B. Females and those reporting a previous hepatitis B vaccination were at significant decreased risk of hepatitis B (OR=0.48, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.69 and OR=0.53, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.93, respectively) whereas those born outside of the USA and with a family history of the disease showed substantial increased risk (OR=13.36, 95% CI 1.62 to 110.05 and OR=4.68, 95% CI 2.66 to 8.22, respectively). Among those who reported a previous hepatitis B vaccination, less than half (42.9%) possessed the protective antibodies that result from a hepatitis B vaccination. Conclusions: Vietnamese Americans remain disproportionately burdened by hepatitis B. Public health efforts that focus on improving hepatitis B awareness and vaccination knowledge and that are tailored to specific high-risk subgroups, such as immigrants and those with infected family members, could help in addressing the disease's burden in this high-prevalence population.