Purpose: To investigate the influence of a number of variables regarding clinicians gender, social class, length of time since graduation and the level of knowledge on their use of available preventive measures against hepatitis B and C. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was carried out involving a random and representative sample (n = 319) of the clinicians working in Recife, Pernambuco, North-East Brazil. The participants were interviewed by means of a questionnaire, prepared and pretested by the researchers. Pearsons chi-square and Fishers exact tests were used in the statistical analyses (significance level: 5%). Results: Female clinicians were found to make more frequent use of equipment such as lab coats, scrub caps and masks (P = 0.0357). With regard to lab coat use in relation to social class, it was seen that clinicians from social class B used it less (P = 0.0077). The length of time since graduation was seen to be connected with the use of scrub caps (P = 0.0003), coating of equipment with polyvinyl chloride plastic film (P = 0.037), use of alcohol for cleaning equipment (P = 0.0012), two-handed recapping of needles (P < 0.0001) and immunisation (P = 0.003), showing that those who graduated most recently were more likely to take adequate infection control steps. The fact that clinicians had been informed about hepatitis B and C, and also their knowledge about its contagion, was positively associated with their levels of vaccination against HBV (P = 0.0313 and 0.0108, respectively). Conclusions: The adherence to preventive practices against hepatitis B and C was shown to be connected with the clinicians socio-demographic, professional and educational variables.
Keywords: clinicians, hepatitis B and C, knowledge, prevention, protection