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Summary

Background : Regular surveillance is recommended for patients with chronic hepatitis B, to select candidates for anti-viral therapy and detect early complications. However, factors that determine compliance are not well studied.

Aim : To determine the utility of the Health Belief Model in explaining non-compliance, among a group of chronic hepatitis B patients for screening.

Methods : A total of 192 chronic hepatitis B patients who responded to advertisement for free screening took part in a telephonic interview study. Subjects were asked about the five constructs of the Health Belief Model, and factors associated with recent screening were analysed.

Results : The mean age of the subjects was 42.1 ± 0.7 years; 77% white male, and 97% Chinese. About 108 patients (56%) had recent screening. At multivariate analysis, only the ability to remember date of follow-up (OR: 4.37; 95% CI: 2.07–9.17) and the perception of having to wait a long time for venepuncture (OR: 0.38; 95% CI: 0.19–0.79) were significantly associated with recent screening.

Conclusion : Future public health measures should include improving the logistics of follow-up procedures and providing reminders for screening to improve compliance.