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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 19(2)

Consideration of gender in diagnosis and management of blood-borne viruses: the case of hepatitis C

Anna Olsen A D , Meredith Temple-Smith B and Cathy Banwell C

A The Kirby Institute, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
B Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne, 200 Berkeley Street, Parkville, Melbourne, Vic. 3054, Australia.
C National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: aolsen@kirby.unsw.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 19(2) 124-129 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY11127
Submitted: 3 October 2011  Accepted: 6 May 2012   Published: 31 May 2012


 
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Abstract

Gender-sensitive health education and clinical management are key components of successful care for people living with chronic illness, yet there is little research available on the specific needs of women living with hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection. This paper reports on a qualitative investigation of HCV diagnosis, symptoms, health care and wellbeing among 109 women living with HCV in two major cities in Australia. Women’s experiences of HCV reflect several gender-specific needs around diagnosis, reproductive health and psycho-social wellbeing. Personal relationships were central to women’s experiences of health and health care and remained dominant in their considerations for the future. Particularly because women are more likely than men to be responsible for family, we highlight the need to consider the social issues of stigma, poverty and drug use when caring for Australian women living with HCV.

Additional keywords: drug use, patient perspective, reproductive health, women.


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