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Student-Run Hepatitis Screening Program with New Initiatives Targeting Egyptian, Nigerian, Bhutanese

Whitney Stuard

UT Southwestern Medical School


Background: The work completed through the DFW Hepatitis B Free Project, implemented in 2010, aims to screen for and raise awareness of chronic viral hepatitis in high-risk populations in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Our project is the largest awareness campaign in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area and the project continues to grow. The recent census estimates there are at least 250,000 APIs in DFW, 85% of whom are immigrants. Historically, we have primarily served immigrant populations from Vietnamese, Chinese, and Korean communities. With continuing growth of our screening capacity, in 2018 we worked to improve the accessibility and quality of our screenings by working with nontraditional communities, whom also have an increased hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) prevalence rate compared to the general population. Methods: Populations for screening were identified by individual students and faculty. The demographics of the population were then analyzed by a medical student to ensure the population was at moderate or high risk for HCV and HBV. The risk was based on comparison to rates of disease in the United States overall. Patients gave informed consent to have their blood drawn and gave demographic data to be able to be sent results and linkage to care information. Once screenings were completed statistical analysis will be performed using Microsoft Office Excel and SigmaPlot. The results were sent to the patients and a linkage to care event was held to link the patients to care within their community or city, which included treatment or vaccine necessities. Results: Regarding HBV (HBsAg), the positive rate among Burmese, Nigerian, Egyptian, and other African (non-Nigerian, non-Egyptian) communities were 5.0%, 1.7%, 0.0% and 6.7%, respectively. Regarding HCV (HCAb), the positive rates among Burmese, Nigerian, Egyptian, and other African (non-Nigerian, non-Egyptian) communities were 5.0%, 0.0%, 9.7%, 5.0%, respectively. Among the Bhutanese refugees and Nepali immigrants tested in 2018, we did not observe any positive test results. Conclusions: Our result of combined positives for HBV and HCV demonstrates the need for our services in these populations, and we are expanding our outreach to other non-traditionally screened and refugee communities in the DFW metroplex in the future. Through raising awareness of this problem and screening those at higher risk for HBV, our project aims to decrease the burden of disease in the United States

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