Perceptions about Hepatitis C, its Myths, Misconceptions and Association with Health-Related Behavior among People of District Layyah, Punjab, Pakistan
Keywords:Hepatitis C, Myths, Cues to action, Perceived severity, Perceived susceptibility, Health Belief Model, Knowledge, Misconceptions
Background: Hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus where the most common modes of its transmission are unsafe injection practices, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, and transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products. Approximately, 130–150 million people globally are suffering from chronic hepatitis C infection. A significant number of these chronically infected will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer subsequently. Approximately 500,000 people die of hepatitis C related liver diseases every year. This study aimed to describe personal characteristics, knowledge of respondents and to find out association of these factors with perceptions about Hepatitis C. The study also aimed to focus on perceptions (perceived susceptibility, severity and cues to action) of general population and finding association between their perceptions and health-related behaviors.
Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in Layyah city situated in Punjab province. Total of 423 male participants were selected through multistage sampling from general population of district Layyah. Structured questionnaire was used to collect data.
Results: Out of 423 respondents, participants with the poor level of knowledge had right perceptions about hepatitis C (16.8%). 82.7% of the respondents were aware about the availability of hepatitis C treatment. Highest perceptions were observed in age group of 21-25 years old (39.7%), unmarried (73.0%), Saraiki (58.2%) and unemployed population (45.9%). People with less myth had the right perceptions about the hepatitis C.
Conclusion: Increasing age, unmarried status and ethnicity were associated with right perceptions shown by respondents. Knowledge remained significant in showing association with perceptions about hepatitis C. General population perceived their susceptibility, severity of consequences and cues to actions were connecting them to show right perceptions overall. Relatives, colleagues and TV were common source of information about hepatitis C respectively.