Experiences of diagnosis, stigma, culpability, and disclosure in male patients with Hepatitis C Virus: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

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Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 3 Mar 2019


The current study aimed to explore the lived experience of patients with HCV infection. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven male participants living with HCV and were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Two master themes were identified: (1) Diagnosis and the search for meaning, and (2) Impact of stigma on disclosure. Participants reported fears of contaminating others, feelings of stigma and concerns of disclosing the condition to others. Response to diagnosis, stigma and disclosure amongst the participants appeared to be interrelated and directly related to locus of blame for virus contraction. More specifically, HCV transmission via medical routes led to an externalisation of culpability and an openness to disclosure. Transmission of HCV as a direct result of intravenous drug use led to internalised blame and a fear of disclosure. The inter- and intra-personal consequences of HCV explored in the current study have potential implications for tailoring future psychological therapy and psychoeducation to the specific needs of the HCV population.