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Assessment of Knowledge Regarding Risk Factors of Hepatitis C Virus Transmission and Options to avoid them

Background: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is affecting 170 million p eople annually (WHO, 2012) and Pakistan ranks high in chronic hepatitis. HCV i s a leading cause of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma rapidly transmitting as silent killer.

Methods: Comparative cross-sectional facility based survey b etween HCV positive (n = 344) and negative (n = 176) respondents at Taluka Hospit al (OPD), Rural District, Sindh using structured questionnaire and open ended questions. Analysis was done by cross-tabulation and Chi-square test.

Aim: To improve the knowledge of risk factors of HCV tra nsmission.

Objectives: 1. To assess the knowledge regarding risk factors of H CV transmission. 2. To identify the options to avoid the risk factors a ssociated with HCV transmission.

Results: A total of 520 respondents having 66% frequency of HCV infection were interviewed. Highest infection was in 21-30 years ages (39.0%) w ith more infection in urban population (75.6%) and illiterate group (52.9%), followed by f armers (30.5%) and laborer (26.7%). Majority of HCV positive respondents had misperceptions of w ater (11.3%; P < 0.036), food (10.3%; P = 0.283), heat (10.1%; (P = 0.412), and mosquitoes (9 .9%; P < 0.003) as the major factors of HCV transmission. History of therapeutic injections/yea r (60%; P < 0.0001), surgery (80%; P < 0.009), shaving at barber’s shop (64.2%; P < 0.119) , sharing tooth brush, razor and miswak, (82%, 77% and 88.1% respectively; P < 0.0001, P < 0 .0001, P < 0.0001) was more in HCV positive respondents. More family deaths due to hep atitis had occurred in HCV positive respondents. The qualitative component reinforced t he findings of misperceptions. Respondents suggested launching auto disable, introducing dispo sable dental/surgical instruments and registering barber’s shops with a policy to use new blade and razor for each customer.

Conclusion: There is health communication gap while getting car e from health professionals during treatment of hepatitis. Health department sh ould ensure health education and awareness sessions to remove the misperceptions of patients a nd prevention of transmission of the disease.

Author(s): Aijaz Ali, Samina Naeem Khalid, Huma Qureshi

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