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Open Access Research article

Awareness, knowledge and self-reported test rates regarding Hepatitis B in Turkish-Dutch: a survey

Ytje JJ van der Veen12*, Hélène ACM Voeten12, Onno de Zwart2 and Jan Hendrik Richardus12

Author Affiliations

1 Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Dept. of Public Health, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

2 Municipal Public Health Service GGD Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:512  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-512

Published: 24 August 2010

Abstract

Background

Hepatitis B virus infection is an important health problem in the Turkish community in the Netherlands. To prevent transmission and progression of the disease in this community, increased screening is necessary. This study aimed to determine 1) the levels of awareness and knowledge regarding hepatitis B, comparing these in tested and non-tested Turkish-Dutch in Rotterdam; 2) the self-reported hepatitis B test status in this population, and how this is related to demographic characteristics, knowledge and awareness.

Methods

We conducted a postal survey amongst first and second generation migrants, aged 16 - 40 years.

Results

The response rate was 30.2% (n = 355 respondents). Levels of awareness and knowledge regarding hepatitis B were low, as the majority of respondents (73%) never thought about the disease and 58% of the respondents scored 5 or less out of ten knowledge items. Weighted analysis of self-reports showed a test rate of 15%, and a vaccination rate of 3%. Regression analysis showed that having been tested for hepatitis B was related to being married and higher levels of awareness and knowledge.

Conclusions

This study shows low levels of hepatitis B awareness and knowledge in the Turkish community in Rotterdam. Self-reported test rates are lower in people who are not currently married, and in those who have low levels of awareness and knowledge. Especially, knowledge about the consequences of hepatitis B, such as liver cancer, was lacking. Therefore, a health promotion intervention should foremost raise awareness, and increase knowledge on the seriousness of this disease.