Publications & Reports

Assessing the feasibility, acceptability and impacts of an education program on hepatitis B testing uptake among ethnic Chinese in Australia: results of a randomised controlled pilot study.

Xiao Y, Wallace J, Ahad M, van Gemert C, Thompson AJ, Doyle J, Lam HY, Chan K, Bennett G, Adamson E, Yussf N, Tang A, Pedrana A, Stoove M, Hellard M, Howell J
Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, 3004, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In Australia, Chinese migrants are among the populations most affected by hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection but often experience late diagnosis or access to clinical care. This study aims to explore approaches to increase HBV testing in Australia’s Chinese community and inform evaluation planning, specifically to i) assess the feasibility and acceptability of HBV educational programs, and ii) compare HBV testing uptake in people receiving a tailored education resource focussing on liver cancer prevention compared with a standard HBV education package. METHODS: This is a pre-post mixed-methods pilot and feasibility study. People of Chinese ethnicity and unsure of their HBV infection or immunity status were recruited from ten community sites in Melbourne, Australia in 2019-2020. Participants were randomised to receive an education package (comprised of a leaflet and in-person one-on-one educational session) with a focus on either 1) standard HBV-related information, or 2) liver cancer prevention. Participants completed a baseline questionnaire prior to receiving the intervention and were followed up at 6 months' time for a questionnaire and an opt-in semi-structured interview. Primary study outcomes included feasibility of study procedures, measured by recruitment, participation, and retention rates; acceptability of the education program assessed by acceptability scores; and HBV testing uptake rate in each arm. Secondary outcomes include HBV-related knowledge change, assessed by pre-post comparison; and factors affecting participants' testing behaviour analysed using qualitative data. RESULTS: Fifty-four participants received an education package; baseline and follow-up data from 33 (61%) were available. The study procedures of recruitment and retention were feasible; the acceptability of the education program was moderate with improved HBV-related knowledge observed. Four participants self-reported being tested: one (1/15, 7%) in the standard HBV information group and three (3/18, 17%) in the liver cancer prevention information group. Factors identified as affecting testing included perceived relevance and seriousness of HBV, healthcare access and costs of testing, and perceptions of the role of primary care providers in HBV-related care. CONCLUSION: A tailored education program targeting ethnic Chinese in Australia was feasible with moderate acceptability. A larger study is required to determine if a liver cancer prevention message would improve HBV testing uptake in Chinese community than standard HBV education message. Supports from healthcare providers, community-based testing programs, and public health education programs are likely needed to motivate diagnostic testing among Chinese people at risk of HBV infection.

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