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Authors

  1. Zucker, Donna M. PhD, RN

Abstract

Although the incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in women is only slightly less than in men, women are poorly represented in research trials. As a result, not much is known about them as a subgroup. The specific aims of this article were to report on the problem, study methods, and findings focusing on HCV-positive women's health beliefs, how they identify and understand their health and illness states, and their explanatory models of illness behavior. A pilot study using three focus groups was conducted with women in the community, in recovery, and incarcerated. Two groups emerged: those with and those without access to knowledge and HCV services.

 

Latinas emerged as a prominent subgroup. Women in all three groups wanted more information and to stay clean, were worried about contagion, and stated that they were secretive and ashamed of their disease. Due to the small study design, this study should be repeated with a larger sample and in a wider geographic area. The results suggest that immediate interventions for this health disparity are needed, including dissemination of this information to primary and specialty care providers and the legislature.