HIV and HCV health beliefs in an inner-city community

K. Krauskopf, T. G. McGinn, A. D. Federman, E. A. Halm, H. Leventhal, L. K. McGinn, D. Gardenier, A. Oster, I. M. Kronish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is more prevalent than human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, but more public health resources are allocated to HIV than to HCV. Given shared risk factors and epidemiology, we compared accuracy of health beliefs about HIV and HCV in an at-risk community. Between 2002 and 2003, we surveyed a random patient sample at a primary care clinic in New York. The survey was organized as domains of Common Sense Model of Self-Regulation: causes ('sharing needles'), timeline/consequences ('remains in body for life', 'causes cancer') and controllability ('I can avoid this illness', 'medications may cure this illness'). We compared differences in accuracy of beliefs about HIV and HCV and used multivariable linear regression to identify factors associated with relative accuracy of beliefs. One hundred and twenty-two subjects completed the survey (response rate 42%). Mean overall health belief accuracy was 12/15 questions (80%) for HIV vs 9/15 (60%) for HCV (P < 0.001). Belief accuracy was significantly different across all domains. Within the causes domain, 60% accurately believed sharing needles a risk factor for HCV compared to 92% for HIV (P < 0.001). Within the timeline/consequences domain, 42% accurately believed HCV results in lifelong infection compared to 89% for HIV (P < 0.001). Within the controllability domain, 25% accurately believed that there is a potential cure for HCV. Multivariable linear regression revealed female gender as significantly associated with greater health belief accuracy for HIV. Thus, study participants had significantly less accurate health beliefs about HCV than about HIV. Targeting inaccuracies might improve public health interventions to foster healthier behaviours and better hepatitis C outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-791
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • attitudes and practice
  • health beliefs
  • health knowledge
  • hepatitis C virus
  • human immunodeficiency virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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