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"Risk factors in SEA patients were injection therapy, dental therapy and surgery (89%, 70% and 38%, respectively). Most Caucasian patients (94%) correctly identified their mode of acquisition compared with 33% of SEA patients (P < 0.0001). "

Volume 19 Issue 7 Page 792 - July 2004

Ethnic and cultural determinants influence risk assessment for hepatitis C acquisition
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 19 (7), 792–798.

Original Article


Ethnic and cultural determinants influence risk assessment for hepatitis C acquisition

  • *Monash University Department of Medicine and Department of Gastroenterology, Monash Medical Center and Department of Human Services, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Dr Anouk Dev, Department of Gastroenterology, Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia. Email:


Background and Aim: In the developed world hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is predominantly associated with sharing contaminated equipment between injecting drug users (IDU). In developing countries inadequately sterilized medical equipment, transmission of infected blood and cultural practices have been implicated. Accurate risk factor assessment is essential for education targeted at risk reduction in culturally diverse populations.

Methods: Ninety Australian-born Caucasians and 72 South-east Asian (SEA) HCV patients attending a Melbourne hospital liver clinic completed a questionnaire which assessed risk factor profile, perceived risk factors, knowledge of risk factors and methods to minimize transmission. Medical records were audited to identify doctor assessment of risk factors.

Results: Risk factors in Caucasians were IDU, body piercing and tattooing (89%, 47% and 32%, respectively). Risk factors in SEA patients were injection therapy, dental therapy and surgery (89%, 70% and 38%, respectively). Most Caucasian patients (94%) correctly identified their mode of acquisition compared with 33% of SEA patients (P < 0.0001). Accurate risk factor documentation in medical records was more common in Caucasians (96 vs 32%; P < 0.0001). The majority of patients identified blood-to-blood and sexual/vertical transmission as important modes of acquisition. However, 33% of SEA patients believed transmission occurred through food, water and poor hygiene and 80% did not identify therapeutic injection or traditional medical practices as risk factors. Education provided to SEA patients did not address less well established routes of transmission.

Conclusions: Ethnicity influences perception and knowledge of risk factors. Improved assessment of risk factors in high-risk ethnic groups is needed. Education should be culturally appropriate and address the concerns of all populations with HCV.

© 2004 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd

This article is cited by:

  • Ausra Stikleryte, Jolanta Griskeviciene, Lars O. Magnius, Kestutis Zagminas, Helene Norder, Arvydas Ambrozaitis. (2006) Characterization of HCV strains in an oncohematological pediatric department reveals little horizontal transmission but multiple introductions by un-screened blood products in the past. Journal of Medical Virology 78:11, 1411


Two years earlier.....

Published by the University of Chicago Press
Title We're at as Much Risk as We Are Led to Believe: Effects of Message Cues on Judgments of Health Risk
Author(s) Geeta Menon, Lauren G. Block, and Suresh Ramanathan
Identifiers Journal of Consumer Research, volume 28 (2002), pages 533–549
DOI: 10.1086/338203
Availability This site:   PS  |  HTML  |  PDF (125.9k)  [Subscription required]
Abstract One of the greatest challenges in advertising health-related information is overcoming the target audiences' self-positivity bias (i.e., the tendency for people to believe that they are invulnerable to disease).

In this article, we show that the self-positivity bias hinders message processing, and we demonstrate that message cues can reduce this bias and engage people in more precautionary thinking and behavior. We identify the process by which risk-behavior cues provided in the message affect people's estimates of their vulnerability (self-risk estimates), depth of message processing, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. We test and find support for our theory in three studies that specify the types of risk behaviors that make the contraction of a disease seem easy versus difficult (study 1), that examine their interactive effects with the number of risk behaviors that are enumerated (study 2), and that delineate the underlying process by which these effects manifest (study 3).

We demonstrate that the self-positivity bias acts as an a priori hypothesis on the basis of which people process and test incoming risk-behavior information, as would be predicted by confirmatory hypothesis testing theory. Our findings affect the theoretical understanding of how memory- and message-based factors work in opposing ways and suggest a more comprehensive framework for understanding memory- versus message-based judgments. Our results also have implications for media strategy and public health policy by differentiating between commonly used risk-behavior messages that are beneficial to the communicator's goals (e.g., increase compliance) and those that are detrimental to the communicator's goals (e.g., decrease compliance).