1 Hepatitis B Foundation, 3805 Old Easton Rd., Doylestown, PA 18902, USA.
2 Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, 3215 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Chronic hepatitis B infection (HBV) disproportionately affects African Immigrant (AI) communities in the U.S., with a reported infection rate of 15%. HBV screening rates within these communities are low. This study sought to better understand the socio-cultural determinants associated with low HBV screening among AI communities and identify potential strategies to help inform the development of effective HBV education and screening interventions. Seventeen in-depth interviews were conducted with community health experts working in AI communities throughout the U.S. Interviews explored the potential impact of culture, perception of health, awareness of HBV, religious practices, current screening practice, provider relationship, and behaviors towards general prevention. Interview data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Religious preferences and cultural norms affect health care access, perceptions towards prevention, awareness of HBV, and contribute to myths and stigma within this population. Participants reported a lack of HBV knowledge and awareness and barriers to health care access including, cost, language, racism, understanding of Western Medicine, and usage of traditional medicine. This study elucidates the role of religious and cultural beliefs as barriers to HBV screening and care. Results can contribute to public health efforts to increase awareness, screening and vaccination efforts within AI communities.