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Social impacts of living with chronic hepatitis B in South Sudanese community in Australia
journal contributionposted on 22.06.2021, 23:07 authored by William MudeWilliam Mude, Christopher M Fisher, Jacqui Richmond, Roslyn Le Gautier, Jack Wallace
Introduction: Chronic hepatitis B presents significant issues to public health and clinical practices. The infection requires lifelong clinical management and is a leading risk factor for liver cancer and liver cirrhosis. Limited studies currently exist on the social impacts of living with chronic hepatitis B, especially for people from Sub-Saharan Africa. The current study explored the experiences of South Sudanese people living with chronic hepatitis B in Australia. Methods: A qualitative inquiry using face-to-face interviews with fifteen South Sudanese people with chronic hepatitis B in Australia explored the social impacts of living with chronic hepatitis B. The study purposively sampled participants who self-identified as South Sudanese with hepatitis B and over 18 years of age. Interviews were coded and analysed using thematic analysis. Results: The study identified three themes relating to the experiences of living with chronic hepatitis B, and were grouped into psychological, interpersonal and healthcare system levels. Psychological level experiences related to the uncertainty of living with chronic hepatitis B and liver cancer risk, where participants expressed persistent fear of disease progression and anxiety around death related to the disease. Interpersonal level experiences involved the disclosure of hepatitis B and its social impacts including stigma, social distancing and isolation. Healthcare system level experiences included receiving mixed messages about hepatitis B, challenges with regular testing and difficulty receiving hepatitis B treatment. Conclusion: The findings provide valuable insights into the social impacts of hepatitis B. It underlines the importance of integrated public health interventions at the community level to improve knowledge and awareness of hepatitis B which address stigma in the South Sudanese community in Australia.