Assessing the Potential for Using Social Media to Increase Hepatitis B Awareness in Philadelphia


While screening for hepatitis B (HBV) among high-risk young adults is critical for preventing retransmission and receiving earlier treatment, few studies have been focused on improving HBV awareness among this population. Given its popularity among young adults, social media may be an effective tool for reaching high-risk young adults in order to promote screening and increase awareness around HBV. This study examined the potential for using social media to increase awareness and discussion around HBV among young Chinese and Vietnamese adults in Philadelphia through three data collection methods: 1) a content analysis of existing HBV-related social media messages to examine characteristics associated with more likes and comments, 2) one-on-one interviews with young adults and community leaders to examine current use and perceptions towards social media, and 3) focus groups with young adults to assess reactions to different message ideas, delivery methods, and sources of information. Results from the content analysis revealed that both individual and organizational users are sharing content related to HBV on social media. The focus groups and interviews provided evidence that social media is common among the population of interest, but there are difference in preferences in terms of social media channels and use.  In terms of a future social media campaign, it may be important to focus on screening as part of a healthy lifestyle or family for messages, disseminate messages through group chats or pages, and use credible sources. More research is needed to understand the short- and long-term impact of social media messages on HBV-related beliefs and behaviors.

Julia Alber PRC Seminar Presentation