National Hepatitis B Strategy 2010–2013

5.1 People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Page last updated: July 2010

Hepatitis B disproportionately affects people from low and middle income countries. In these countries, high rates of chronic hepatitis B are related to high levels of mother-to-child and early childhood transmission due to a lack of comprehensive immunisation programs and a secure blood supply.

Priority CALD communities for hepatitis B in Australia can be identified in
several ways, including by:

  • examining hepatitis B prevalence data on countries of birth, especially countries where prevalence is high or intermediate
  • examining census and immigration data and trends
  • consulting with community organisations and multicultural health services.
Estimates of the prevalence of hepatitis B in Australia among people from CALD backgrounds are generally consistent with prevalence in their countries of origin.

Table 1: Compares prevalence of chronic hepatitis B in country of birth and estimates burden of chronic hepatitis B among Australians born overseas
CountryPrevalence of chronic
hepatitis B in country1
Estimated residential
population by
country of birth
(% of total Australian
Estimate of chronic
hepatitis B3 among
China10.7–11.8313 572 (1.5)35 300
Fiji9.0–11.859 241 (0.3)6 200
Hong Kong7.7–11.887 510 (0.4)8 500
India2.6–3.6239 295 (1.1)7 400
Indonesia7.2–9.064 567 (0.3)5 200
Malaysia6.0–9.0120 053 (0.6)9 000
Philippines7.0–9.0155 124 (0.7)12 400
South Korea5.0–11.878 260 (0.4)6 600
Taiwan10.6–11.832 394 (0.2)3 600
Thailand8.7–9.043 047 (0.2)3 800
Vietnam10.5–11.8193 288 (0.9)21 600

(1) chronic hepatitis B prevalence estimates based on seroprevalence studies in countries of origin
(2) Australian Bureau of Statistics, Migration, Australia 3412.0, 2007–08
(3) estimate of chronic hepatitis B based on prevalence estimate or midpoint of prevalence range, with rounding to closest 100

In describing the experience of people living with chronic hepatitis B, the National Hepatitis B Needs Assessment 2008 found that:
  • communities most affected by chronic hepatitis B have often experienced highly disrupted lives and limited or non-existent access to healthcare services in their countries of origin
  • people with hepatitis B report their diagnosis as ‘shocking’ reflecting a lack of preparation for a possible positive diagnosis or of pre or post test discussion
  • communities can play an important role in providing information about hepatitis B but have few resources available for people with hepatitis B or their families to help them understand the infection.