Lived experiences of chronic hepatitis B in relation to stigma and discrimination among Chinese immigrants in Australia

Hi all, my name is Defeng Jin. I completed a PhD about knowledge and attitudes towards people living with hepatitis B among Chinese immigrants at the Centre for Social Research in Health, University of New South Wales. Here I would like to introduce the qualitative sub-study of this research project.

From 2019 to 2020, sixteen Chinese immigrants living with HBV were recruited through advocacy by Hepatitis NSW and Hepatitis Victoria (now LiverWELL). Participants in this study talked about their experiences in relation to hepatitis B in the community and health care settings in China and Australia.

Key Results
• Stigma and discrimination experienced in the community
o HBV-related stigma was mostly driven by a lack of HBV knowledge about the transmission route and fear of infection.
o There was the negative impact of the historical discriminatory regulations against people living with hepatitis B in mainland China (in the 1990s).
o Social isolation and avoiding sharing food were the most common experiences.

• Trust in healthcare settings
o The study showed what led to mistrust to physicians and how this trust was influenced by a few factors such as: health and illness beliefs, patient–provider communication, relevant experiences in the past, barriers in the healthcare system.
Some participants were concerned about side effects of biomedical treatments and were not happy with the discussion about this.

Some participants felt that they were not respected by their Western practitioners and turned to complementary and alternative medicine (particularly traditional Chinese medicine) for their hepatitis B health care.

  • For example, participants said:

“They believed that I was cured by their medicine. But I said to them frankly, ‘if you do want to examine, please examine the products I’ve taken and promote them among your patients.”

“I think when you go to see a Western doctor, he would finish quickly. But when you visit a Chinese doctor, he would talk more to you. The relationship would be built through the chatting, right?”

Suggestions for raising awareness and fostering trust in health care

  • Education on how hepatitis B virus is transmitted.

Improving healthcare practitioners’ interpersonal skills, understanding of Chinese cultural health beliefs and pre-migration engagement in hepatitis B clinical management.

Encouraging open discussion on complementary and alternative medicine treatment for hepatitis B

Encouraging open discussion on the side effects of biomedicine

More from this study

[Paper 1 link
Paper 2 link
Paper 3 link

1 Like

Hi Jin,
Thank you for sharing your work with us. I am surprised to read from your work that certain issues or concerns are not unique to one community impacted by hepatitis B. For example on the issue of mistrust and what is believed to drive stigma (which is mostly due to lack of hep. B knowledge/education) are among issues raised by people who are of non-Chinese heritage/background. I have heard the same words/statement made within the African community and they are echoed in your work as well. It is interesting that these themes seem to cross ethnicity/community. Very interesting. Thanks, Bansah1

1 Like

Hi Bansah 1,

Thanks for your comments. Good to know that the same themes showed in people with non-Chinese heritage/background. Education on hep B would benefit a few communities. Thanks, Defeng

I agree with you. But unfortunately, hepatitis B education and awareness are still lacking in many areas around the world. These areas need the education and awareness the most. We have a very long way to in the fight to eliminate hepatitis B virus. Thank you, Bansah1.


Looking forward to seeing more efforts and commitment to this. Thanks, Defeng