Four in Five General Practitioners (83%) Agree That Patients Would Benefit From More Routine Hepatitis C Screening

Majority of Canadians Incorrectly Believe HIV is More Prevalent than Hep C; Six in Ten GPs Admit they Don’t Screen Enough Patients for Hep C

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Toronto, ON – A strong majority of general practitioners (GPs) in Canada believe that more routine hepatitis C screening would be beneficial to patients, according to a recent study conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the Canadian Liver Foundation. Four in five (83%) general practitioners ‘agree’ (23% strongly/61% somewhat) that their patients ‘would benefit from more routine screening of hepatitis C’, while only one in five (17%) ‘disagree’ (2% strongly/14% somewhat).

While almost all GPs (96%) believe that many Canadians who have hepatitis C are not aware that they have it, six in ten (61%) admit that they ‘do not screen enough patients for hepatitis C’. In terms of patient receptivity of getting screened, on average, nearly all GPs (95%) indicate that their patients accept being screened when it is suggested.

GPs admit having a limited understanding of the disease and treatment

The survey also shows that GPs have a limited understanding of hepatitis C. Only about a third (35%) of those surveyed say they know ‘a lot’ about the symptoms, while nearly four in ten (38%) feel they know ‘nothing at all’ or ‘not much’ about available treatments. Moreover, over half (57%) are unaware that hepatitis C can be cured.

When asked about barriers that prevent them from screening and/or treating more patients for hepatitis C, three in ten (29%) indicate that they have a lack of comfort and knowledge about testing for hepatitis C.

Low levels of screening for hepatitis C

Even though high proportions of Canadians (90%) correctly indicate that ‘someone can have hepatitis C and not know it’, only one in four (23%) say they have been tested for hepatitis C at some point in their life, which is lower than screening levels for HIV/AIDS (32%). In particular, Baby Boomers (17%) are less likely than Generation Y (26%) and Generation X respondents (34%) to have been tested. When asked if they know anyone with hepatitis C, the majority of Canadians (73%) indicate that they do not.

Public knowledge of hepatitis C is limited

Just over half of Canadians (55%) believe (incorrectly) that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is the same as (40%) or higher (15%) than that of hepatitis C.

Nearly half (47%) of Canadians feel they know a lot or some about hepatitis C. In particular, Baby Boomers are most likely (53%) to say they know a lot/some about the disease compared to Generation Y (44%) and Generation X (45%) respondents, when in fact they know the least. When asked a number of questions about the disease, including the prevalence of hepatitis C compared to HIV/AIDS, how the disease is primarily transmitted, whether or not it can be cured, and a series of true/false statements, Boomers score the lowest compared to their younger counterparts (see table below).

(Click to enlarge image)

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid survey conducted between August 15th and September 7th, 2012 on behalf of the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF). For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadian adults, aged 18+, and 300 general/family practitioners from Ipsos' Canadian online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of each target audience according to Census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points had all Canadians adults been surveyed and ± 6.5 percentage points had all general/family practitioners in Canada been surveyed. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Associate Vice President
Ipsos Reid Public Affairs

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011.

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Four in Five General Practitioners (83%) Agree That Patients Would Benefit From More Routine Hepatitis C Screening


Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs