ABSTRACT FINAL ID: 1828
TITLE: Engaging Chronic Hepatitis B at-risk populations into care: A peer-education intervention
SPONSORSHIP - THIS STUDY WAS SPONSORED BY: (IF THIS ABSTRACT WAS NOT SPONSORED PLEASE INDICATE):
Bristol Myers Squibb unrestricted educational grant
Background: There is a rising prevalence of CHB infection and its complications, such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), in Australia and this is overrepresented in migrant communities. Significant barriers to CHB screening persist due to stigma and misconceptions associated with CHB within these communities. We recently conducted a needs assessment in the Afghan, Rohingyan, and South Sudanese communities and found that culturally relevant education at a community level was required to help destigmatise and correct misconceptions around CHB.
Methods: A pilot intervention to train 1 CHB patient from each community (Afghan, Rohingyan, and South Sudanese) as a peer-educator to deliver CHB focused radio programs and community forums in their own language, supported by a specialist hepatologist.
Results: Participants in the Afghan and Rohingya community forums showed a significant increase in CHB knowledge improvement from pre- and post- forum surveys (both <0.05). Despite collaboration with the relevant South Sudanese community leaders, there was no attendance at the organised forum. Attempts are underway to engage further with the South Sudanese community.
Conclusion: Using a culturally meaningful peer-educator approach to CHB education was effective in improving knowledge and dispelling misconceptions within the Afghan and Rohingya communities. However, the South Sudanese community proved difficult to engage, with stigma and lack of awareness around the importance of Hepatitis B screening as significant barriers. Further attempts in this cohort should be made in the future, considering the higher prevalence of HCC in young South Sudanese.