1042. Hepatitis C Risk Factors in a Cambodian American Population in Lowell, Massachusetts
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Hepatitis Viruses
Friday, October 9, 2015
Room: Poster Hall
  • IDWeekposter4.pdf (519.7 kB)
  • Background: Hepatitis C (HCV) is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States (US). HCV rates in Cambodian Americans are as high as national rates.  Asian American HCV risk factor studies show low rates of injection drug use but do not include Cambodian Americans in large numbers.  Lowell, Massachusetts has the second largest population of Cambodians in the US, allowing a larger study of HCV risk factors in this group.  Our aim was to examine HCV risk factors in Cambodian Americans. 

    Methods: In this cross sectional study of HCV infected Cambodian and non-Cambodian Americans, medical record data for all adults with reactive HCV antibody or RNA testing seen at Lowell Community Health Center from 2009-2012 was collected regarding nationally recognized HCV risk factors and patient characteristics.    

    Results: There were 128 Cambodian and 541 non-Cambodian Americans with HCV in the study. Cambodians were older (mean age 53 vs 43 years old) and less likely to be male (41% vs 67%, p<0.001). Fewer infected Cambodians were 35 years of age or less while more than a quarter of the non-Cambodians belonged to this age group (9% vs 28%, p<0.001).  Cambodians had lower rates of injection drug use (1.6% vs 33.6%, p<0.001), overall recreational drug use (2.3% vs 82.1%, p<0.001), and alcohol use (12% vs. 40%, p<0.001). HIV rates were not significantly different between the groups.  More Cambodians were born between 1945 and 1965 (66.4% vs 45.8%, p<0.001).  Within this birth cohort, more Cambodians than non-Cambodians had no other risk factor identified (82% vs 69%, p=0.02).  Fewer Cambodians had chronic or previously treated HCV (53% vs. 74%, p<0.001). 

    Conclusion: Birth between 1945 and 1965 was the major risk factor for Cambodian Americans with HCV, but no major mode of transmission was identified.  Cambodians had lower rates of injection drug use, so HCV screening by behavioral risk factors like drug use would miss these cases of HCV.  Fewer Cambodians were in the younger age cohort identified as driving HCV in Massachusetts in a 2011 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Current known HCV risk factors may fail to describe HCV transmission for Cambodian Americans.

    Catherine Yu, MD1, Allen Gifford, MD2,3,4, Cindy L. Christiansen, Ph.D.2 and Mari-Lynn Drainoni, MEd, PhD2,3,4, (1)Adult Medicine, Lowell Community Health Center, Lowell, MA, (2)Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, (3)Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford, MA, (4)Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA


    C. Yu, None

    A. Gifford, None

    C. L. Christiansen, None

    M. L. Drainoni, None

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