Background In Canada, incidents of new hepatitis C virus infections are rising among women aged 15–29 years and now comprise 60% of new infections among this age group. A negative diagnosis experience continues to be a problem affecting women living with hepatitis C virus. With new effective treatments, nurses will have more involvement in hepatitis C virus care and diagnosis, which is a critical time to facilitate appropriate education and management.
Purpose This study explored Canadian women’s experience of hepatitis C virus diagnosis in order to develop recommendations to improve care at the point of diagnosis.
Methods Purposive sampling was used to recruit and interview 25 women. Using narrative inquiry, we examined Canadian women’s experience of hepatitis C virus diagnosis.
Results Women’s diagnosis experiences were shaped by the context of diagnosis, factors prompting the testing, the testing provider, and information/education received. The context of diagnosis foreshadowed how prepared women were for their results, and the absence of accurate information magnified the psychological distress that can follow an hepatitis C virus diagnosis.
Conclusion Our findings provide a compelling case for a proactive nursing response, which will improve women’s experiences of hepatitis C virus diagnosis and, in turn, enhance women’s access to hepatitis C virus care and other healthcare services.