Publications & Reports

Knowledge and practices of chronic hepatitis B virus testing by general practitioners in Victoria, Australia, 2014-15.

van Gemert C, Howell J, Wang J, Stoové M, Cowie B, Allard N, Enright C, Dunn E, Towell V, Hellard M

Abstract

BACKGROUND: More than one-third of people living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) in Australia have not been diagnosed. The aim of this study was to assess general practitioners' (GPs') knowledge and practices regarding chronic HBV diagnosis, and identify opportunities to improve testing rates.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with GPs working in Victoria, Australia. Statistically significant adjusted odds ratios for high knowledge, and ordering two or more HBV tests per week were calculated.

RESULTS: Of 1000 GPs who were invited to participate, 232 completed the survey. Chronic HBV knowledge, use of interpreters, and awareness of HBV testing guidelines were low. Chronic HBV knowledge and testing were associated with age and graduation from a medical school outside Australia. Testing was also associated with gender.

DISCUSSION: This study identified gaps in GPs' knowledge about chronic hepatitis. Several barriers to improving testing rates among at-risk populations were identified. We recommend revision of the guidelines for prevention in general practice, and educational activities to improve knowledge of at-risk populations for chronic HBV in Australia.