An insight in to the awareness levels about Hepatitis C in the international South Asian students of University of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
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AbstractMigration all around the world is at its peak and it has brought a lot of challenges for Public Health system due to changing epidemiology of infectious diseases associated with migration. The paper is based on the possible un-noticed spread of Hepatitis C from South Asia to the United Kingdom because of low awareness levels of this disease in the immigrants especially students. The disease is more dangerous in contrast to Hepatitis A and B, as there is no vaccine to provide immunity against the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Moreover, the costly and toxic treatment options can help in only fifty percent of the patients. It is thought that student’s involvement in risky behaviours make them more vulnerable to contract and transmit the disease. A Quantitative research approach has been used to conduct a cross-sectional, self administered questionnaire survey at the University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK to know about the knowledge of Hepatitis C in students. A total of 71 International South Asian students (53 males and 18 females) were included in the survey by snow ball sampling. Data was analysed by SPSS version 12.0 software (95% C.I, P<0.05), using chi-square test for statistical significance. Self reported knowledge of Hepatitis C was 69% and it decreased to just 39.4% self reported knowledge for symptoms and 38% for the self reported awareness about transmission of disease. 74.6% participants seemed to know that the disease can be transmitted by contaminated needles and 69% recognised blood as route of transmission for the disease. Only 64.8% of the participants were able to relate jaundice with possible Hepatitis C infection. Misconceptions and concerns about transmission of disease by close contacts such as kissing were shown by majority of the participants. Some participants (59.2%) knew about the transmission of HCV through contaminated shaving blades while only few (32.4%) agreed that it can be transmitted by sharing toothbrushes. Just 29.6% participants knew about sexual transmission and only 9.9 percent participants realised that there is no vaccine for the protection against HCV. Bangladeshi and Sri-Lankan were amongst least aware ethnic groups; Participants <30 years and males had least knowledge about the disease. Finding of the study are suggestive that the overall knowledge of Hepatitis C among International South Asian students is extremely low and insufficient. They might be at a high risk of contracting and transmitting the disease so they should be treated as high risk group for the disease. There is an urgent need of campaigns to improve the awareness levels about transmission of Hepatitis C in this group.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA dissertation submitted in part fulfilment for the award of degree of Masters in Public Health
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