The Social Stigma Experience in Patients with Hepatitis B Infection: A Qualitative Study
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The social stigma in patients with hepatitis B virus infection has caused several complications for both the patients and the associated medical system. This study aimed at demonstrating the social stigma experienced by these patients in Iran. This is a qualitative study using a content analysis approach with references to primary and secondary sources. The data were collected through 15 unstructured and in-depth interviews conducted in 2014. By analyzing the data, two main themes were noted: extrinsic concepts of social stigma (causing reprehension, embarrassment, and discrimination) and intrinsic concepts of social stigma (sense of rejection, isolation, and frustration). The analysis of participants' experiences showed that social stigma is a simple lack of knowledge among the patients and society and it is more intense in the first days after the diagnosis. Stigma is prevalent among patients with hepatitis B virus, causes them to hide the disease, and provokes various complications for them as well as society. This study emphasizes the necessity of implementing health education programs about hepatitis B and its associated stigma, especially considering the potential impact of a mass media campaign. Copyright © 2017 Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates.