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J Urban Health. 2005 Sep;82(3):479-87. Epub 2005 Jul 20.

A community-based study of hepatitis B infection and immunization among young adults in a high-drug-use neighborhood in New York City.

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Office of HIV AIDS, US Agency for International Development, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20523, USA.


We conducted a community-based study of the prevalence and correlates of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and immunization among young adults in a "drug supermarket" neighborhood in New York City. Four hundred eighty-nine young adults ages 18-24 years were recruited from Bushwick, Brooklyn through multistage household probability sampling (n = 332) and targeted sampling (n = 157), interviewed, and tested for three hepatitis B markers (HBsAg, anti-HBc, and anti-HBs). Serological evidence of HBV infection was found in 8.0% (6.0% in the household sample and 12.1% in the targeted sample) and of hepatitis B immunization in 19.6% (22.6% in the household sample and 13.4% in the targeted sample). HBV infection was higher among young adults who either used crack or injected drugs and among those who traded sex for money or drugs. Having Medicaid was significantly associated with lower odds of infection in the household sample and higher odds of immunization in the targeted sample. Although adolescent hepatitis B immunization has been a public health priority in the United States since 1995, nearly three-quarters of young adults in this community did not have serological evidence of being either exposed or immunized. Whereas subsequent younger generations benefited from universal childhood hepatitis B immunization, this particular cohort of young adults who live in communities like Bushwick presents a unique group for prevention intervention.

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