Hepatitis B Screening, Vaccination, and Linkage to Care: Lessons Learned from a Mississippi Vietnamese Community

Online Publication Date:
October 8, 2021
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:
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**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) volume 16. All rights reserved**

Background: Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are disproportionately impacted by chronic hepatitis B infection (CHBI). Long-term effects of untreated CHBI include cirrhosis of the liver, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and liver failure. Approximately two-thirds of those living with CHBI are unaware of their HBV status.
Objectives: Plan, implement, and evaluate a culturally and linguistically appropriate screening, vaccination, and linkage-to-care initiative that utilized Vietnamese-speaking CHWs for care navigation among Vietnamese-Americans residing in the Mississippi coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson.
Methods: The initiative employed a community-based participatory framework to plan and implement the program. An active community advisory board was established and was representative of all the partners that worked together to make the initiative a success.
Results/Lessons Learned: Before program implantation, results from focus groups indicated that the Vietnamese community had low knowledge about the risk of CHBI. Additionally, there were no Vietnamese-speaking health care providers, nor primary care providers treating CHBI in the prioritized counties. A total of 505 Vietnamese individuals were screened. Half were immune by infection (n=235, 46.5%), 83 (16.4%) were immune by vaccination, 46 (9.1%) had CHBI, 130 (25.7%) were vaccine-naïve, and 40 (7.9%) were undetermined, (n=130), 101 (77.7%) received the complete 3-injection vaccine series. Five new primary care providers now provide treatment for those with CHBI. Cultural competency and community/medical interpreter training were also provided to reduce language barriers during medical encounters.
Conclusions: To ensure success, it is paramount that community input is not only solicited but that partnerships provide a space where the input informs all aspects of the program.