Date of Conferral
Of the 3.5 million persons infected with chronic HCV in the United States, the African American population is the largest racial group with chronic HCV. Disparities in access to care and treatment involve a complex set of individual, interpersonal, socioeconomic, and environmental factors that influence the course of HCV infection in the African American population, resulting in poorer outcomes and survival. Drawing upon both the theory of reasoned action and the theory of planned behavior, this study was conducted to determine whether the seeking of health care by HCV-positive African Americans and the responses of health care providers to HCV-positive African Americans had improved since 2008 following the introduction of new treatment options, as compared to other HCV-positive racial/ethnic groups, using secondary data analyses with survey datasets from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2012. Using chi-square test of difference and logistic regression analyses, the study did not identify a statistically significant relationship between health care seeking behavior and responses from health care providers for HCV-positive African Americans before (2005-2008) and after (2009-2012) the introduction of new treatment options as compared to other HCV-positive racial/ethnic groups. Given the ongoing development of new and improved drugs to treat HCV infection, further research might focus on the HCV-infected population as a whole to ascertain whether differences exist as compared to earlier therapies before 2013. This study may drive social change within the health care community by raising awareness of the risks of HCV infection resulting in less provider bias and the introduction of resources into the African American and underserved communities that will improve outcomes and reduce barriers to care.