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Evaluation of hepatitis B risk perceptions and behavioral intentions for hepatitis B immunizations among young adults aged 18-24 years old

Rachel Gonzales, MPH1, Emily Elman, MPH1, Deborah C. Glik, ScD1, Mike Prelip, DPA, MPH2, Janet Yuen, MPH3, and Linda B. Bourque, PhD4. (1) School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Community Health Sciences, P.O. Box 951772, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, 310 267 2686, rachelmg@ucla.edu, (2) Nutrition Friendly Schools and Communities, UCLA School of Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences, P.O. Box 951772, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, (3) Immunization Branch, California Department of Health Services, 2151 Berkeley Way, Rm. 712, Berkeley, CA 94704, (4) School of Public Health, UCLA, P.O. Box 951771, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772

Within the past decade, Hepatitis B has become a growing concern for public health. Not only are rates increasing among the general population, but 63% of the Americans infected with Hepatitis B are older adolescent and young adult populations. Even more disconcerting is that Hepatitis B immunizations only occur in a small proportion of young people. A repeated cross-sectional study using self-administered surveys examined awareness about Hepatitis B, attitudes associated with risk perceptions for Hepatitis B, and behavioral intentions to seek more information about Hepatitis among 1,203 young people aged 18 to 24 years old within Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Although there were high rates of general awareness about Hepatitis B among the sample, risk perceptions for Hepatitis B differed. The majority of respondents tended to perceive their self risk for Hepatitis B as low, but rated the risk for other people, including other teens and young adults and people of different ethnicities as high. Gender and ethnic group differences in Hepatitis B risk perceptions and behavioral intentions to seek more information about Hepatitis B will be presented. Since young adults are at a potentially increased risk for Hepatitis B, increasing efforts at education and prevention strategies aimed at young people will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the end of the presentation, the audience members will be able to

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

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    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA