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Authors

  1. Williams, Sheila A. MSN, APN-BC
  2. Lindley, Lisa C. PhD, RN, FPCN

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects more than 3 million people in the United States (U.S.). Long-term complications of hepatitis C infection result in increased liver disease and financial burden for the nation. The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics of adults with HCV in the U.S. This secondary, descriptive study analyzed data from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The weighted sample included 2,075,749 adults diagnosed with HCV. Descriptive statistics were calculated. The findings revealed that most adults in the U.S. with HCV were insured non-Hispanic, white males, aged 45 to 64 years. Almost half of adults with HCV denied a liver condition. Several participants either were co-infected or had previous infection (82%) with other hepatitis. Substance use (53.5%), alcohol use (96%), and cigarette use (88.6%) among adults with HCV were higher than previously reported. A majority of adults were noncompliant with hepatitis A and B vaccination series completion (67% and 65.1%, respectively). Medication adherence was higher than other reported cases. Adults with HCV have increased mental health symptoms (67.1%) and do not routinely visit a mental health professional (90.2%). HCV-infected adults are likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, and/or other substances. Adults with HCV have significant mental health issues, but rarely access care. Medication adherence was higher than expected for this cohort. The findings provide information for nurses to develop individualized plans of care and identify at-risk individuals for treatment noncompliance.