1 School of Nursing, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts.
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), a blood borne pathogen capable of causing severe liver disease, disproportionately affects veterans in the United States. While there are antiviral medications to treat HCV, stigma and trauma in this population may lead to avoidance of care. Those veterans who do undergo treatment have certain illness representations about HCV and its treatment. They undergo treatment even while facing stigma and trauma. The Common-Sense Model may be useful in elucidating how such representations, when matched to an appropriate illness prototype, may inform an action plan of how to respond to HCV. An exploration of the illness representations among veterans with HCV, and the effects of stigma and trauma on these representations, may help to explain how they exercise the choice to undergo treatment and may inform interventions to encourage treatment in veterans who have yet to do so.