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News

Hepatitis C and people who inject drugs: The family experience

17 Jul 2017

“Having hep C is not a trivial thing, being around someone with it is not a trivial thing. It leaves marks and scars on the people around them.”
 
Today we are publishing our report “Marks and scars” on the impact of hepatitis C on the families of people who inject drugs.
 
Around half of people who inject drugs in England and Wales are thought to be infected with hepatitis C. For the first time, the families have been asked what it’s really like for them.
 
Drawing on evidence from online surveys and phone interviews, we have discovered that:
  • Most family members have heard of hepatitis C, but their knowledge is not always in depth.
  • Most family members are worried about the risk of their loved one contracting hepatitis C, although other drug-related issues are often more significant.
  • Hepatitis C causes a range of impacts on family life, including an increase in the intensity of the caring role, fears about transmission, strain on relationships and stigma.
  • Family members had mixed experiences of seeking information and support and playing a role in treatment.

Family members also told us how their experiences could be improved, for example by increasing awareness of hepatitis C, enabling family members to be more involved in the treatment process and providing support for families in their own right.

Read the report here.