Aim: In this study, we aimed to examine the relationship of health literacy with the diagnostic stage of the disease, the risk of encountering complications, and other prognostic variables in chronic hepatitis B patients.
Methods: A total of 264 patients (146 male and 118 female) with chronic hepatitis B disease who presented to the gastroenterology outpatient clinic of Mersin University Faculty of Medicine Hospital in 2019 were included in the study. The HLS-EU-47 scale was used to measure the level of health literacy.
Results: The health literacy of patients taking antivirals was significantly lower than those who did not use them (p=0.031). The health literacy of patients who underwent regular follow-up after chronic hepatitis B was significantly higher than those who did not (p<0.001). The health literacy of patientswith the chronic form of hepatitis B was significantly higher than the others (p<0.001). The health literacy of patients with cirrhosis development was significantly lower than those without (p<0.001). In the group that needed paracentesis, health literacy was observed to be lower than in the group that did not need paracentesis (p<0.004). The health literacy of patients hospitalized in the last year was significantly lower than that of non-hospitalized patients (p<0.002). The number of hospitalizations in the last year was associated with health literacy (p<0.009).
Conclusions: Health literacy is associated with the course of the disease in chronic hepatitis B patients. Frequent hospitalization, frequent visits to the emergency department, the need for frequent paracentesis, and the need for antiviral therapy were more common in the group with low health literacy. Improving health literacy will positively affect the prognosis of these patients.