Objectives: Although stigma is well defined in people with a
chronic disease or condition, it has not been studied much in
individuals infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV). The study is one
of the first descriptive individual studies conducted on this subject
in our country. Our aim in this study was to evaluate the stigma
experiences and concerns of individuals living with HBV, their
sharing of their illness with the environment, and the state of being
affected by their social relationships.
Materials and Methods: Patients with hepatitis B surface
antigen positivity who were admitted to the infectious diseases
outpatient clinic were surveyed through face-to-face interviews.
Epidemiological data, stigma experiences and anxiety states, people
with whom they shared their illness, the reasons for not sharing, the
impairment of social relations were questioned.
Results: It was found that 19.5% of 390 individuals infected with
HBV who participated in our study were “exposed” to stigma in
various ways, and 27.4% were “worried” about experiencing
this condition. In research, 19.9% of women, 41.4% of university
graduates, and 34.8% of divorced or widowers were found
to experience higher stigma (p=0.002, p=0.02 and p<0.001,
respectively). It was determined that 56.7% of the participants
did not share their illnesses, and this need increased with stigma
experiences and anxiety. It was found that individuals mostly shared
their disease status with their first-degree relatives (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The fact that individuals infected with HBV experience
different forms of stigma or experience anxiety suggests that there
is a need to investigate these conditions and develop treatment
Keywords: Hepatitis B infection, stigma, awareness