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A comparison of effectiveness of hepatitis B screening and linkage to care among foreign-born populations in clinical and nonclinical settings

Authors Chandrasekar E, Kaur R, Song S, Kim KE

Received 1 October 2014

Accepted for publication 12 November 2014

Published 6 January 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 1—9

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S75239

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Edwin Chandrasekar,1 Ravneet Kaur,1 Sharon Song,1 Karen E Kim2

1Asian Health Coalition, Chicago, IL, USA; 2Division of the Biological Sciences and Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Disparities, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Abstract: Hepatitis B (HBV) is an urgent, unmet public health issue that affects Asian Americans disproportionately. Of the estimated 1.2 million living with chronic hepatitis B in USA, more than 50% are of Asian ethnicity, despite the fact that Asian Americans constitute less than 6% of the total US population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HBV screening of persons who are at high risk for the disease. Yet, large numbers of Asian Americans have not been diagnosed or tested, in large part because of perceived cultural and linguistic barriers. Primary care physicians are at the front line of the US health care system, and are in a position to identify individuals and families at risk. Clinical settings integrated into Asian American communities, where physicians are on staff and wellness care is emphasized, can provide testing for HBV. In this study, the Asian Health Coalition and its community partners conducted HBV screenings and follow-up linkage to care in both clinical and nonclinical settings. The nonclinic settings included health fair events organized by churches and social services agencies, and were able to reach large numbers of individuals. Twice as many Asian Americans were screened in nonclinical settings than in health clinics. Chi-square and independent samples t-test showed that participants from the two settings did not differ in test positivity, sex, insurance status, years of residence in USA, or education. Additionally, the same proportion of individuals found to be infected in the two groups underwent successful linkage to care. Nonclinical settings were as effective as clinical settings in screening for HBV, as well as in making treatment options available to those who tested positive; demographic factors did not confound the similarities. Further research is needed to evaluate if linkage to care can be accomplished equally efficiently on a larger scale.

Keywords: community-based settings, public health, health disparities, disease management

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