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  1. Moore, Grace A. BSN, RN
  2. Hawley, Diane A. PhD, RN, CCNS
  3. Bradley, Pat DNS, RN


The purpose of this study was to examine hepatitis C-related stigma within a population of liver disease support group attendees. In total, 39 participants completed a quantitative/qualitative survey during support group meetings. This article reports on the quantitative data. Data collected included the source and location of stigma and stigma's effects on health-seeking behavior and disclosure practices (DISCs). Of the participants, 84.6% experienced hepatitis C-related stigma. All who were Hispanic or older than 65 years experienced stigma. The most common source of stigma was healthcare professionals. More participants reported a decrease in DISCs than in health-seeking behavior. A small portion of participants reported increases in both. Those persons who were stigmatized by healthcare professionals were significantly more likely to subsequently decrease their health-seeking behavior. Of those who reported decreases in DISCs after being stigmatized, more than half (54.5%) were stigmatized by healthcare professionals. The most common location for stigmatization was in the home setting. The findings hold important implications for learning needs of healthcare professionals.