Research Output

Hepatitis C in a new therapeutic era: Recontextualising the lived experience

  Aims and Objectives
To explore the experience of adults living with hepatitis C in a new era of interferon-free treatment.
Hepatitis C is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, posing a significant challenge to global public health. Historically, the treatment of hepatitis C was poorly efficacious and highly demanding, however, more effective and tolerable therapies have become available in high-income nations in recent years. This is the first study to explore how these significant developments in the treatment of hepatitis C may have influenced the experience of those living with the virus, and their understanding of the disease.
A qualitative study underpinned by social phenomenological theory.
Data were generated through semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 20 hepatitis C positive adults living in a large city in Scotland.
Thematic analysis identified three over-riding themes. ‘Positioning hepatitis C’ illustrated how the disease was understood within wider sociocultural, medical and politico-economic contexts. ‘Beyond a physical burden’ emphasised the emotional aspect of infection, and ‘a new uncertainty’ revealed participants’ cautious response to the advances in hepatitis C therapy.
Inter-thematic discourse portrayed the new era of hepatitis C treatment as holding little sway over constructions of the illness, as narratives resonated with previous studies. Such unmoving ‘lay’ understandings of hepatitis C may pose potential barriers to the new therapeutic era from reaching its full potential.
Relevance to clinical practice
How people living with the virus perceive and understand hepatitis C can have an adverse impact on their engagement with care and treatment. Whilst global medical discourse eulogises the arrival of a new era of therapy, there remain significant challenges for nurses engaging those with hepatitis C in therapeutic pathways.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    27 September 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher


  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    RT Nursing

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    610.7 Medical education, research & nursing

  • Funders:

    NHS Lothian


Whiteley, D., Whittaker, A., Elliott, L. & Cunningham-Burley, S. (2017). Hepatitis C in a new therapeutic era: Recontextualising the lived experience. Journal of Clinical Nursing. doi:10.1111/jocn.14083. ISSN 0962-1067



This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Whiteley, D., Whittaker, A., Elliott, L. and Cunningham-Burley, S. (), Hepatitis C in a new therapeutic era: Recontextualising the lived experience. J Clin Nurs. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/jocn.14083 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving


Direct-acting antivirals; hepatitis C; interferon-free treatment, lived experience, social phenomenology, thematic analysis, treatment rationing

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