Disparities in Awareness of Hepatitis C Virus Among US Adults: An Analysis of the 2019 Health Information National Trends Survey

Jessica Yasmine Islam, Lisa Spees, Marlene Camacho-Rivera, Denise C. Vidot, Rina Yarosh, Christopher W. Wheldon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force updated hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening 2020 guidelines to target adults aged 18 to 79 years: a major shift from the prior focus on high-risk populations ("baby boomers" aged ≥55 years as of 2019). To inform efforts to maximize HCV screening coverage, our objective was to identify demographic groups reporting a lack of HCV awareness, particularly by race/ethnicity and age, and sources of health information. METHODS: We used nationally representative data of adults (≥18 years) included in the 2019 Health Information National Trends Survey (n = 5438). Awareness of HCV was defined using the following question: "Have you ever heard of the hepatitis C virus (also known as Hep C or HCV)?" We estimated frequencies by demographic groups and computed risk differences (RDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to compare lack of HCV awareness by age (<55 and ≥55 years) and race/ethnicity. RESULTS: Overall, 17% of adults never heard of HCV. Younger adults (<55 years; 21%) were more likely to have never heard of HCV compared with older adults (≥55 years; 12%; χ2P < 0.001). This observation was consistent across most demographic characteristics including, racial/ethnic categories, and residing in the Southern United States. More than one-third of adults with low English fluency had a lack of HCV awareness in both age groups (χ2P = 0.537). Non-Hispanic (NH) Asian (RD, 25%; 95% CI, 6.9%-43.3%) and Hispanic (RD, 10%; 95% CI, 0.01%-19.6%) adults younger than 55 years were significantly more likely to have never heard of HCV compared with their NH White counterparts after adjustment for sex, educational level, household income, English fluency, and having a regular provider. Adults younger than 55 years with a lack of HCV awareness commonly obtained their health information from the Internet across most sociodemographic characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: Hispanic and NH Asian young adults should be targeted for public health messaging regarding HCV screening, potentially through social media campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-985
Number of pages5
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Volume48
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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