September 15, 2013

Journal of Viral Hepatitis

Volume 20, Issue 10, pages 708–714, October 2013

Original Article

E. Y. Chen1, C. S. North2, O. Fatunde3, I. Bernstein4, S. Salari3, B. Day3, M. K. Jain1,3,*

Article first published online: 1 APR 2013

DOI: 10.1111/jvh.12095

© 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Abstract

Keywords: attitude; health beliefs; hepatitis C virus; human immunodeficiency virus; intervention research; knowledge

Summary

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment is rapidly changing but little is known about patients' attitudes and knowledge about HCV. This study used a cross-sectional survey to examine the relationship between HCV knowledge and attitudes towards HCV in patients with HCV mono-infection and HIV/HCV co-infection. Subsequently, an education intervention was developed with an abridged version of the cross-sectional survey administered before and after the education session to assess changes in knowledge and attitudes. 292 people participated in the cross-sectional survey, and 87 people participated in the education intervention. In the cross-sectional survey, the mean knowledge score regarding HCV was low (<50% of the total possible score). Mono-infected and co-infected individuals shared similar knowledge deficits and attitudes towards HCV despite having distinct demographic differences. Attitudes endorsed by patients included the following: 57% feared the consequences of HCV on their life, 37% felt HCV was not fatal, 27% did not believe they needed HCV medication, 21% felt ashamed of having HCV and 16% felt HCV treatment was not important. Attitudes that reflected indifference and shame towards HCV were associated with lower knowledge scores (HCV knowledge score of 15.1 vs. 17.5, P < 0.01 for indifference and 15.3 vs. 17.2 for shame, P = 0.02). The education intervention improved knowledge scores but did not modify the assessed attitudes. Intervention studies are needed to effectively change attitudes towards HCV infection and treatment.

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