Health Services Research & Development

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Kim HS, Yang JD, El-Serag HB, Kanwal F. Awareness of Chronic Viral Hepatitis in the United States: An Update from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Journal of Viral Hepatitis. 2019 Jan 10.
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Abstract: The World Health Organization has set the goal of reducing the hepatitis-related mortality rate by 65% between 2015 and 2030. Diagnosis and awareness of infection is the first essential step towards achieving this goal. Our study examined the current awareness rate of chronic viral hepatitis in the U.S and the potentially associated factors. In the National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey 2013-2016, there were 11,488 persons who participated in serology testing for chronic viral hepatitis. We defined chronic HBV infection by HbsAg, HBV past exposure by anti-HBc, and HCV infection by HCV RNA. At risk for significant fibrosis was determined by AST to Platelet Ratio Index >0.7. Awareness of chronic HBV infection, past HBV exposure, and HCV infection were present in 33.9%, 11.7%, and 55.6% of participants, respectively. Among HCV infected baby boomers, the awareness was in 61.5%. The awareness of HBV infection was significantly higher in individuals with high education level. Age group (40-60 years), women, non-Black race/ethnicity, those with high household income who were born in the U.S with insurance plans tend to be aware of their infection. For HCV, awareness was the lowest in Hispanics and Asians, foreign-born who lived below the federal poverty level and low education level. Awareness among chronic viral hepatitis patients at risk for significant fibrosis was 62.0% in HBV and 38.2% in HCV infection. In conclusion, current awareness of chronic viral hepatitis in the U.S remains suboptimal. Active public health policy to identify persons at risk and provide appropriate management is warranted. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.