Awareness of hepatitis B virus among undergraduate medical and non-medical students.

Saudi Med J 2004 Apr;25(4):484-7

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

Objective: To investigate the awareness of Omani medical and non-medical students of hepatitis-B virus (HBV) infection.

Methods: A structured questionnaire of 31 different statements concerning basic knowledge of HBV, its modes of transmission, diagnosis, risk behaviors, prevention, treatment, beliefs as well as attitudes towards patients with HBV infection were distributed to 280 students (154 females and 126 males). Of these 138 were pre-clinical medical students and 142 were non-medical students. The study was conducted at Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman during the period of 2001 to 2003.

Results: The majority of the students (75%) were aware that HBV is a common cause of hepatitis and 50.7% of them think that HBV infection is preventable. Availability of vaccine is a fact appreciated more by medical (65.2%) than by non-medical (35.2%) students (p<0.05). Approximately 70% of the cohort believed that screening blood for HBV renders blood safe for transfusion. Hepatitis B virus infected student or colleague in the same classroom or working place was accepted by 58% of medical and 46.5% of non-medical students. However, the majority of students (63.2%) hesitate to take care of a HBV infected patient.

Conclusion: The majority of students showed some knowledge regarding HBV transmission, risk behaviors and prevention. However, there are still misconceptions regarding the attitudes, which reflect a false perception of the disease among students. This calls for well-structured health education programs stressing on such misconceptions.

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Source
April 2004

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