Background: Stigma and discrimination against patients with HIV and hepatitis C are well defined in the literature. However, hepatitis B is an older and more common infection worldwide than HCV and HIV.
Objectives: To determine the rates of stigma and discrimination in people with hepatitis B in our region and to present data from our country to the international literature.
Methods: In this study, a questionnaire prepared for chronic hepatitis B patients was applied using face-to-face interview technique. Data analyzed with SPSS-V23 and AMOS-V24.
Results: A total of 505 patients were interviewed. The mean age of the patients was 41 and 56% were male. 47.1% of the patients stated that they hid their illness from their surroundings, 47% feared stigma, 36% feared exclusion. While 20(4%) stated that they broke up with their spouse or lover due to their illness, 47(11.7%) stated that they did not plan to marry because of their illness. It was determined that 73.8% of the participants had fear of transmitting the disease to others. 21.6% of the patients stated that they experienced stigma while receiving health services. The rate of being exposed to any stigma and discrimination in the workplace was 12.3%(n=43). Twenty one(5.8%) of the participants stated that they lost their job due to their illness. The rate of exclusion from the social environment was11%(n=55). There was a significant difference between those who hid their disease and those who did not, in terms of age, education level, marital status, place of residence, worrying about the course of the disease, fear of infecting others, and exposure to any stigma. As the level of education increased gradually, it was observed that the individuals shared that they had hepatitis B with fewer people (p=0.002). It was determined that those who have never been married and those living in towns and villages hid their hepatitis positivity more (p=0.020 and 0.011, respectively). As the participants' anxiety levels about the course of the disease and their fear of infecting others increased, it was observed that the hiding behavior increased (p=0.004 and 0.009).
Conclusion: In this article, it is shown that HBV positive people in our country accept this situation as a reason for stigmatization and related discrimination. The participants stated that they avoided disclosing their illness mostly because they were afraid of being stigmatized and excluded.
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