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Increasing Hepatitis B Screening for Hmong Adults: Results from a Randomized Controlled Community-Based Study



Hepatitis B-linked liver cancer disproportionately affects Hmong Americans. With an incidence rate of 18.9 per 100,000, Hmong Americans experience liver cancer at a rate that is 6 to 7 times more than that of non-Hispanic Whites. Serologic testing for the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a principal means to prevent liver cancer-related deaths through earlier identification of those at risk.


Academic researchers and Hmong leaders collaborated in the design, conduct, and evaluation of a 5-year randomized controlled trial testing a lay health worker (LHW) intervention to promote HBV testing among 260 Hmong adults through in-home education and patient navigation.


Intervention group participants were more likely to report receiving serologic testing for HBV (24% vs. 10%, P = 0.0056) and showed a greater mean increase in knowledge score (1.3 vs. 0.3 points, P = 0.0003) than control group participants. Multivariable modeling indicated that self-reported test receipt was associated with intervention group assignment [OR 3.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-9.2], improvement in knowledge score (OR 1.3 per point; 95% CI 1.02-1.7), female gender (OR 5.3; 95% CI 1.7-16.6), and having seen a doctor in the past year at baseline (OR 4.8; 95% CI 1.3-17.6). The most often cited reason for testing was a doctor's recommendation.


LHWs were effective in bringing about HBV screening. Doctor visits and adherence to doctors' recommendations were pivotal. Participation of health care providers is essential to increase HBV testing.


LHWs can significantly increase HBV screening rates for Hmong but their doctors' recommendation is highly influential and should be pursued.

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