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Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 18  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 1894 - 1898

Factors Associated with Awareness of Infection Status among Chronic Hepatitis B and C Carriers in Korea

A Shin, E. R Cho, J Kim, J Sung, K. W Park, M. K Lim and H. R. Shin

Abstract

Hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) viral infections are the most important risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is responsible for 17.5% of cancer deaths in Korea. The objectives of this study were to identify demographic characteristics that may affect hepatitis carriers' awareness of their infection status, and to assess whether health-related behaviors differed by awareness of the infection. Among 18,636 persons who were recruited from a cancer screenee cohort, 904 were HBV carriers and 146 were HCV carriers. Among the HBV carriers, 74.2% were aware of their infection status. Higher education (odds ratio, 1.8; college versus middle school or less), family history of liver cancer or disease, and marriage were associated with awareness of HBV infection status. Participants who were aware of their HBV carrier status were more likely to be former smokers or drinkers than those who were not aware of their status. Only 34.9% of HCV carriers were aware of their HCV infection status. No demographic characteristics were related to awareness of HCV infection status among HCV carriers. However, HCV carriers who were aware of their infection status were more likely to be former drinkers (odds ratio, 9.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.8-47.2). In conclusion, two thirds of HCV carriers and one fourth of HBV carriers in this study population were not aware of their infection status, and awareness of hepatitis infection status was significantly associated with other risk behaviors, such as alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking. (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009;18(6):1894–8)

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