First name
Jason
Last name
Schnittker

Title

The impact of disease-related knowledge on perceptions of stigma among patients with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection.

Year of Publication

2021

Number of Pages

e0258143

Date Published

2021

ISSN Number

1932-6203

Abstract

<p>Most patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection perceive some degree of disease-related stigma. Misunderstandings about diseases may contribute to disease-related stigma. The objective of this study was to evaluate patient-level knowledge about HCV infection transmission and natural history and its association with HCV-related stigma among HCV-infected patients. We conducted a cross-sectional survey study among 265 patients with HCV in Philadelphia using the HCV Stigma Scale and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Hepatitis C Follow-up Survey (2001-2008). The association between HCV knowledge and HCV-related stigma was evaluated via linear regression. Overall knowledge about HCV transmission and natural history was high, with &gt;80% of participants answering ≥9 of 11 items correctly (median number of correct responses, 9 [82%]), HCV-related knowledge was similar between HIV/HCV-coinfected and HCV-monoinfected participants (p = 0.30). A higher level of HCV-related knowledge was associated with greater perceived HCV-related stigma (β, 2.34 ([95% CI, 0.51-4.17]; p = 0.013). Results were similar after adjusting for age, race, ethnicity, HIV status, education level, stage of HCV management, time since diagnosis, and history of injection drug use. In this study, increased HCV-related knowledge was associated with greater perceptions of HCV stigma. Clinicians may consider allotting time to address common misconceptions about HCV when educating patients about HCV infection, which may counterbalance the stigmatizing impact of greater HCV-related knowledge.</p>

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0258143

Alternate Title

PLoS One

PMID

34610030

Title

Determinants of Stigma among Patients with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection.

Year of Publication

2020

Date Published

2020 Jun 05

ISSN Number

1365-2893

Abstract

<p>Stigma around hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is an important and understudied barrier to HCV treatment and elimination. The determinants of HCV-related stigma, including the impacts of stage of HCV treatment (i.e., spontaneously-cleared; diagnosed, untreated; previously treated, not cured; currently being treated; treated, cured) and coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), remain unknown. To address these gaps, we conducted a cross-sectional study among patients with a history of HCV infection (n=270) at outpatient clinics in Philadelphia from July 2018 - May 2019. We evaluated stigma using the validated HCV Stigma Scale, adapted from the Berger HIV Stigma Scale. Associations among HCV-related stigma and hypothesized demographic, behavioral, and clinical risk factors were evaluated by multivariable linear regression. Most participants (95.5%) experienced HCV-related stigma. Mean stigma scores did not differ significantly between HCV-monoinfected and HIV/HCV-coinfected participants (P=0.574). However, we observed significant interactions between HIV status and multiple determinants; therefore, we stratified analyses by HIV status. Among HIV/HCV-coinfected participants, previous HCV treatment without cure, female gender, Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, and some college education were significantly associated with higher HCV-stigma scores. An annual income of $10,000-$40,000 was associated with significantly lower stigma scores. No significant associations were observed among HCV-monoinfected participants. We found that most participants experienced stigma associated with HCV diagnosis. While stigma scores were similar between HCV-monoinfected and HIV/HCV-coinfected participants, the determinants associated with HCV stigma differed by HIV status. Understanding how experiences of stigma differs between HCV-monoinfected and HIV/HCV-coinfected patients may aid in the development of targeted interventions to address the HCV epidemic.</p>

DOI

10.1111/jvh.13343

Alternate Title

J. Viral Hepat.

PMID

32500618

Title

Validation of a modified Berger HIV stigma scale for use among patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Year of Publication

2020

Number of Pages

e0228471

Date Published

2020

ISSN Number

1932-6203

Abstract

<p><strong>BACKGROUND: </strong>Stigma around hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is an important and understudied barrier to HCV prevention, treatment, and elimination. To date, no validated instrument exists to measure patients' experiences of HCV stigma. This study aimed to revise the Berger (2001) HIV stigma scale and evaluate its psychometric properties among patients with HCV infection.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>The Berger HIV stigma scale was revised to ask about HCV and administered to patients with HCV (n = 270) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Scale reliability was evaluated as internal consistency by calculating Cronbach's alpha. Exploratory factor analysis was performed to evaluate construct validity by comparing item clustering to the Berger HIV stigma scale subscales. Item response theory was employed to further evaluate individual items and to calibrate items for simulated computer adaptive testing sessions in order to identify potential shortened instruments.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>The revised HCV Stigma Scale was found to have good reliability (α = 0.957). After excluding items for low loadings, the exploratory factor analysis indicated good construct validity with 85% of items loading on pre-defined factors. Analyses strongly suggested the predominance of an underlying unidimensional factor solution, which yielded a 33-item scale after items were removed for low loading and differential item functioning. Adaptive simulations indicated that the scale could be substantially shortened without detectable information loss.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>The 33-item HCV Stigma Scale showed sufficient reliability and construct validity. We also conducted computer adaptive testing simulations and identified shortened six- and three-item scale alternatives that performed comparably to the original 40-item scale.</p>

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0228471

Alternate Title

PLoS ONE

PMID

32023310

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