Hepatitis B Testing And Access To Care Among Racial And Ethnic Minorities in Selected Communities Across the United States, 2009-2010

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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is widely prevalent among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States; however, few data have been available regarding HBV testing and referral to care for these populations. Using survey data collected in 2009-2010 from the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) across the U.S., we assessed rates and determinants of hepatitis B testing and access to care in 28 minority communities in the U.S. Of 53,896 respondents, 21,129 (39.2%) reported having been tested for hepatitis B. Of the 1,235 who reported testing positive, 411 (33.3%) reported currently receiving specialty care. After controlling for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, the likelihood of having been tested for hepatitis B and receiving care if infected was higher among males, non-English speaking persons, and those having health insurance compared to their counterparts. Compared to college graduates, respondents without a college education were less likely to get tested for hepatitis B. Conclusion: These data indicate that more than half of racial/ethnic minority persons in these communities had not been tested for hepatitis B, and only about one-half of those who tested positive had ever received treatment. More state and federal efforts are needed to screen racial/ethnic minorities, especially foreign-born persons, for HBV and link those with infection to care. (Hepatology 2013;53:856–862)

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