Decrease in health-related quality of life associated with awareness of hepatitis C virus infection among people who inject drugs in Scotland

Scott McDonald, Sharon Hutchinson, Norah Elizabeth Palmateer, Elizabeth Allen, Sheila O. Cameron, Goldberg David J., Avril Taylor

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Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can significantly reduce health-related quality of life (QoL), but it is not clear if reduction is associated with the infection or with being aware of one's infection status. Understanding the impact of a HCV diagnosis on QoL is essential to inform decision-making regarding screening/testing and treatment. Using a cross-sectional design, we assessed QoL in 2898 people who inject drugs (PWID), surveyed in Scotland during 2010 using EQ-5D. Multifactorial regression compared self-reported QoL between PWID who were (i) chronically HCV-infected and aware of their infected status, (ii) chronically HCV-infected but unaware, and (iii) not chronically infected.
Median time since onset of injecting was 10years; not chronically infected PWID were younger and had shorter injecting careers than chronically infected PWID. Median EQ-5D was highest for the not chronically infected and the chronic/unaware groups (0.73) compared with the chronic/aware group (0.66). After adjustment for demographic and behavioural co-factors, QoL was significantly reduced in chronic/aware compared with chronic/unaware PWID (adjusted B=-0.09, p=0.005); there was no evidence for a difference in QoL between not chronically infected and chronic/unaware PWID (adjusted B=-0.03, p=0.13). Awareness of one's chronic HCV status was associated with reduced health-related QoL, but there was no evidence for further reduction attributable to chronic infection itself after adjusting for important covariate differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-466
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number3
Early online date10 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • hepatitis C virus
  • HCV
  • injecting drug users
  • scotland
  • quality of life
  • infection
  • awareness

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