Torres Strait Islanders' understandings of chronic hepatitis B and attitudes to treatment Academic Article uri icon


  • Indigenous Australians are disproportionally affected by hepatitis B compared with non-Indigenous Australians. The higher prevalence of hepatitis B among Indigenous Australians has been linked to an increased incidence of liver cancer in this population. There is evidence that comprehensive programs of hepatitis B virus management, which include liver cancer surveillance and appropriate antiviral therapy, offer a cost-effective approach to reduce the incidence of liver cancer in Australia. This paper reports on data from the first study investigating understandings of hepatitis B and attitudes to treatment among Torres Strait Islanders living with chronic hepatitis B. Forty-two participants completed an interview questionnaire. Participants typically had an unclear understanding of hepatitis B and reported significant gaps in monitoring and follow up. A majority of participants indicated a willingness to use treatment if required. The findings of this study suggest the need for a new service delivery model that is appropriate to remote communities such as the Torres Strait Islands, to improve hepatitis B follow up, disease monitoring and management, and where appropriate, the uptake of treatment.

publication date

  • 2016