Hepatitis B sero-prevalence and risk behaviors among immigrant men in a population-based household survey in low-income neighborhoods of northern California.
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Despite an effective vaccine, 60,000 new HBV infections were reported in the US in 2004; 95% in adults. We evaluate HBV sero-prevalence, risk behaviors and self-reported vaccination among Latino immigrant, Asian immigrant and US born low income men in five northern California counties.Population based, cross sectional survey of HBV sero-prevalence and risk behaviors in men aged 18 to 35 years.Among 1,512 men screened, Asian immigrants were most likely to have had prior HBV infection (15.1%) and chronic infection (3.8%) compared to US born (prior 5.1%, chronic 0.6%) and Latino immigrant men (prior 2.0%, chronic 0.3%.) Reported HBV vaccination was lowest for Latino immigrants (12%) compared to Asian immigrants and US born men (35% in both.) Latino immigrants reported less educational attainment, medical insurance coverage and access to a physician in the last six months.Healthcare providers should routinely screen Asian immigrants for HBV regardless of their self reported vaccination status. Latino immigrants may comprise an important group of under-vaccinated, at risk persons in California. HBV testing and vaccination of immigrants soon after US arrival should be encouraged.