Although 10 000 new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and 400–500 notifications of new cases are estimated to occur each year in Australia,1 few medical practitioners, especially at the primary care level, have specialised HCV knowledge and skills. Further, there has been little research on the HCV diagnosis experience with a view to examining the support and training needs of diagnosing doctors.2
Previous research has documented
patient experiences of hepatitis C virus
(HCV) diagnosis to be without sufficient
pretest and post-test discussions – health
professionals have expressed a need for
training in this area.
This study aimed to examine the
diagnosis experiences of 24 people
diagnosed with HCV in the preceding
Face-to-face interviews of 24 participants
(recruited through advertising) were
Overall, the HCV diagnosis experience
of participants was poor. Participant
narratives of HCV diagnosis were
characterised by confusion in relation
to tests that were performed and the
implications of test results. Post-test
discussions were inadequate – there was
a reported lack of information, support
and referral provided to participants.
Most clinicians do not receive specialised
training in hepatitis C but may be
involved in diagnoses in their careers.
The impact of negative diagnosis
experiences for patients can be
serious and long term. These findings
highlight areas of suboptimal diagnosis
experience and suggest training and
support needs of health professionals.
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