The Construction of Hepatitis C as a Chronic Illness

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The purpose of the article is to present one aspect of the findings of a descriptive, exploratory investigation of the self-care decision making of 33 adults diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C (Hep C), specifically how they experienced living with this disease as a chronic illness. The findings were interpreted from a social constructivist perspective in which Hep C was viewed as both a biomedical entity and a social construction. The authors will suggest that although Hep C is constructed by people with the disease as a chronic illness, the care of this disease is often based on an acute model that acknowledges its chronicity only in terms of the persistence of the virus. The article points to the need for a model of Hep C care that incorporates the dimensions of the chronic illness experience.

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