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Low knowledge and high infection rates of hepatitis in Vietnamese men in Sydney

Catherine C. O’Connor A C D , Miranda Shaw A , Li M. Wen B and Susan Quine C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Sexual Health Service, Community Health Facility, Sydney South West Area Health Service, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

B Health Promotion Service, Population Health, Sydney South West Area Health Service, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

C School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 5(3) 299-302
Submitted: 29 October 2007  Accepted: 1 April 2008   Published: 6 August 2008


Objective: To describe hepatitis B and C knowledge and self-reported infection and risk behaviour in a group of Vietnamese men living in inner-urban Sydney, in order to assist with future program planning. Methods: Data were collected through telephone interviews conducted in Vietnamese using a structured questionnaire from 499 of 761 eligible men contacted, giving a response rate of 66%. The data were weighted to be consistent with the age distribution of Vietnamese men in the area. The findings were compared with a published national telephone study. Results: Low knowledge levels of hepatitis B and C were found when compared with data from a published national telephone study. The factors associated with higher mean knowledge scores for hepatitis B were being highly acculturated (P < 0.001), ever having been tested for HIV (P < 0.001) and knowing someone with HIV (P < 0.0001). For hepatitis C, the factors were being highly acculturated (P < 0.001), ever injecting drugs (P < 0.05) and being vaccinated for hepatitis B (P < 0.001). Knowledge regarding hepatitis B was particularly poor. High rates of self-reported hepatitis B infection were noted. Of the participants, 7.2% were aware that they had ever been infected with hepatitis B, more than 10 times the rate in the national telephone study. Conclusion: Lower levels of hepatitis B knowledge have been identified in a community with higher numbers of people living with chronic hepatitis B. Targeted community-wide awareness-raising campaigns and health care worker education is required to improve knowledge of hepatitis B and rates of screening in the Australian Vietnamese community.

Additional keywords: hepatitis B, hepatitis C, population based, telephone interview.


The present study was funded by the NSW Health Department. We thank Dr C. Rissel, Professor B. Donovan, Associate Professor A. Grulich, Dr S. G. Phan, Ms L. Nguyen, Mr J. Lam and the Vietnamese Health Professionals’ Association for their assistance. We thank Associate Professor A. Smith and other ASHR investigators for assistance and use of their questionnaire. Telephone interviews were carried out by Ingenuity Research. We thank Mr M. Balough, Ms S. Kirson, Ms M. Morgan, and all of the interviewers for their patience and assistance. We thank Vietnamese men living in the central Sydney area for their participation.


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