Changing Attitudes towards Hepatitis B among Asian Americans
From Saving Face to Getting Serious
Background: Asian Americans have the highest prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the US. The San Francisco Hep B Free (SFHBF) campaign aimed to increase awareness and access to HBV education and services among Asian Americans in San Francisco. Purpose: We sought to examine attitudes and knowledge among Asian Americans regarding HBV at baseline (2009) and benefits of the SFHBF outreach campaign four years later (2013). Methods: Four focus groups were conducted (n=45) in 2009, followed by in-depth interviews (n=40) in 2013. Results: In 2009, many participants were misinformed about HBV symptoms and transmission. They also reported stigma associated with HBV, which hindered Asian Americans from discussing the disease and seeking services. The 2013 interviews revealed that SFHBF had contributed towards awareness of HBV screenings and vaccinations, and also instilled acute seriousness that HBV could affect them directly. Conclusion: The in-depth interviews conducted in 2013 illustrated that there was less concern about “saving face,” but a shift to a level of seriousness associated with HBV. Future efforts among Asian Americans should continue to focus on self-efficacy regarding HBV prevention, including screening and vaccination.