1 Biomedical Research Associate, Institute of Liver Studies, London.
2 Consultant Hepatologist and Transplant Physician, Institute of Liver Studies, London.
3 Consultant Hepatologist, Institute of Liver Studies, London.
direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy is highly efficacious in the treatment of hepatitis C (HCV). The literature to date has focused primarily on the physical health benefits of viral eradication.
this study explored patient emotions during and after DAA therapy for HCV.
over a 6-month period, 178 patients attending a viral hepatitis clinic for treatment of HCV were posed a single question: 'How do you feel about your diagnosis of hepatitis C today?' Responses were transcribed verbatim, thematically coded and visualised using WordArt software.
the images depict the evolution of patients' perceptions of HCV before, during and after DAA therapy. Responses before treatment were predominantly negative, often describing the fear of contagion and feelings of isolation, secrecy and loneliness. After treatment, patients often described feeling positive and more motivated.
the results demonstrate that treatment of HCV has a transformative effect on patients' perception of the impact of HCV on their wellbeing. This may promote a more positive outlook and, in turn, facilitate patient engagement with healthcare.