Social stigmatization in Turkish patients with chronic hepatitis B and C.
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Background and aim: Viral hepatitis is the most important cause of chronic hepatitis worldwide. Stigmatization is defined as a feeling of rejection and isolation of patients by society due to illness. There are no studies on chronic viral hepatitis in the literature in English, which has its own religious and socio-cultural structure. In our study, we aimed to investigate the presence of social stigmatism and psychosocial effects on patients with different stages of chronic viral hepatitis B and C. Methods: Forty-five patients with chronic hepatitis C and 114 patients with chronic hepatitis B were enrolled in the study. Berger's scale was used for stigmatization, composed of 40 four-point Likert items that have four subscales: personalized stigma, disclosure, negative self-image, and public attitude. Stigma score ranges between one and four. Stigma is accepted as present if the overall score is above two. Results: Overall the mean stigma scores were 1.97 ± 0.58 and 2.14 ± 0.57 for chronic hepatitis B and C, respectively. There was stigma in 47.4% of the patients with chronic hepatitis B, and 60% of the patients with chronic hepatitis C. Being male was the risk factor on overall stigma, disclosure and public attitude in chronic hepatitis C. Living in an urban setting was the risk factor on negative self-image in chronic hepatitis C and on personalized stigma and disclosure in chronic hepatitis B. Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that provides qualitative information about chronic hepatitis-related stigma. Stigmatization is a major problem in Turkey and worldwide. We believe that increasing the knowledge of the patients and society by teaching about the transmission routes of the disease and focusing on vaccination studies will prevent stigmatization. © 2020 Elsevier España, S.L.U.
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