KNOWLEDGE AND AWARENESS ABOUT HEPATITIS B AND C INFECTIONS AMONG VISITORS OF THE GASTROENTEROLOGY CLINIC OF TERTIARY CARE CENTER IN PAKISTAN
Hepatitis B and C infections are endemic in Pakistan. The general population has poor knowledge about the HBV vaccine’s availability and the modes of transmission for HBV/HCV. Therefore we decided to assess the knowledge of HBV & HCV infection, their spread and modes of prevention amongst the general population and its association with the ethnic, socioeconomic and educational status.
This cross-sectional analytical study was conducted in Gastroenterology clinic, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Karachi, from August 2016 to December 2016. All patients and their attendants of age >18 years visiting GI-OPD were enrolled. A predesigned questionnaire was filled and data was entered in SPSS version 20.0.
Out of 641 respondents, 382 (59.6%) were males, the mean age of the participants was 38.46 ± 14.15 years. Only 44% respondents were aware about the availability of HBV vaccination. Most of respondents believed that re-usage of syringes, sharing of razors, use of unsterilized dental and surgical instruments can spread these infections. Majority had the misconceptions that these viruses can transmit through handshakes and hugs, smoking, alcohol use, sharing utensils and mosquito bite. Only 23 (3.6%) respondents had good knowledge. Statistical significance of adequacy of knowledge was noted with profession, monthly family income, education status and ethnicity.
Our study indicates the overall knowledge regarding the modes of transmission and prevention of HBV/HCV is very poor among the visitors of GI-clinic from different part of the country. We believe that our study highlights the need to increase the public awareness among general population of HBV/HCV infection in Pakistan. Public awareness seminars should be implemented with special emphasis on mode of transmission of HBV/HCV infection and measures to control risk factors.
Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Disease prevention, Transmission, Awareness.