Evaluation of a Hepatitis B Lay Health Worker Intervention for Chinese Americans and Canadians

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Abstract

Hepatitis B testing is recommended for immigrants from countries where hepatitis B infection is endemic. However, only about one-half of Chinese in North America have received hepatitis B testing. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a hepatitis B lay health worker intervention for Chinese Americans/Canadians. Four hundred and sixty individuals who had never been tested for hepatitis B were identified from community-based surveys of Chinese conducted in Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia. These individuals were randomly assigned to receive a hepatitis B lay health worker intervention or a direct mailing of physical activity educational materials. Follow-up surveys were completed 6 months after randomization. Self-reported hepatitis B testing was verified through medical records review. A total of 319 individuals responded to the follow-up survey (69% response rate). Medical records data verified hepatitis B testing since randomization for 9 (6%) of the 142 experimental group participants and 3 (2%) of the 177 control group participants (P = 0.04). At follow-up, a higher proportion of individuals in the experimental arm than individuals in the control arm knew that hepatitis B can be spread by razors (P < 0.001) and during sexual intercourse (P = 0.07). Our findings suggest that lay health worker interventions can impact hepatitis B-related knowledge. However, our hepatitis B lay health worker intervention had a very limited impact on hepatitis B testing completion. Future research should evaluate other intervention approaches to improving hepatitis B testing rates among Chinese in North America.

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