There is little published research about how people who inject drugs are responding to the hepatitis C epidemic. This study seeks to address the prevention of hepatitis C using qualitative interviews with people who inject drugs in London. We explored narratives about risk reduction and hepatitis C in the social and historical context of other risks such as HIV, vein damage and overdose. Themes of the narratives included: the importance of autonomy in the acquisition of safer injecting skills; that safer injection was regarded as ‘common sense’, normalised and predicated on the risk of HIV; that hepatitis C risk was relativised with HIV risk and thereby seen as less important; and that hepatitis C infection was also seen as unavoidable. These narrative forms represent significant challenges for the management of the hepatitis C epidemic, both in terms of the existing risk reduction efforts designed for HIV and in terms of the articulation of risk reduction for injectors with general public health policy.
Davis, M.; Rhodes, T.; Martin, A. Preventing hepatitis C: ‘Common sense’, ‘the bug’ and other perspectives from the risk narratives of people who inject drugs. Social Science and Medicine (2004) 59 (9) 1807-1818. [DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.02.021]