Date of Graduation

Winter 12-2020

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

College/School

School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Zahra Goliaei

Second Advisor

Monica De La Cruz

Third Advisor

William Remak

Abstract

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. In recent years, the prevalence of hepatitis C infections among 20 and 30 years of age has increased by 300 percent, and between 30 and 39 years by 400 percent. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, people diagnosed with Hepatitis C have lost access to mental health services and resources, including in-person meetings with support groups. Since most states enforced stay-at-home order, many community centers, non-profit organizations that work with Hepatitis C patients and the affected population provide limited to no access to support group meetings in person. This project presents data analysis for the prospects of how young adults diagnosed with Hepatitis C can get virtual support as a substitute for in-person support groups. An online survey questionnaire was created for the quantitative and qualitative data to determine the needs of Hepatitis C patients in times of COVID-19 pandemic. There were a total of 29 responses where only eight participants were qualified for the project’s purpose. 50% of all participants had elevated anxiety, felt isolated or depressed and found it hard to maintain their lifestyles due to the ongoing global pandemic. 50% of participants said they would become members of a virtual community support group. 75% of participants said they would use an encrypted anonymous messaging app for support if one was available. This project provided an excellent insight into the lack of virtual support for young adults diagnosed with Hepatitis C, the need for more information about risk management, and the overall need for disaster preparedness guidelines.

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