Research type: 
Year of report: 
Summary of findings: 

Overall, the campaign has potential to raise awareness of the causes, effects, treatment and prevention of hepatitis C. However, people still find it hard to assess their own level of risk. Confusion persists regarding: The differences between the viruses; The treatment and prevention esp. in the absence of symptoms.

People often have to work quite hard to grasp all communication messages around risk behaviours: how exactly these relate to them personally and what action is required.

People are not always clear whether the campaign is talking about past or current behaviour and where the risks lie. Some campaign routes (esp. ‘cricket’ and ‘wedding’) are perceived to refer to travelling back to Pakistani now but focus on risks of previous behaviour.

The causes depicted are not all felt to be appropriate (e.g. ear piercing) which can create some distancing  - ‘this is not for me’.

Also, younger/more educated respondents can feel awareness of other blood borne viruses (e.g. HIV) has already made them careful about certain risk behaviours e.g. sharing razors, tooth brushes

Older respondents:


  • Can accept they may have been exposed to the virus in the past but they are not always clear how they are affected
  • Can acknowledge that current behaviour may expose them to risks and are uncertain what they need to do and when e.g. should they be tested every time they come back from abroad?


The risks felt to be of most relevance:


  • Sharing razors in the past
  • Visiting local barbers
  • Needing emergency dental or medical treatment


Currently, the most effective route is perceived to be ‘Hepatitis C can seriously damage your liver’: clear, direct, relevant.

The leaflet is perceived to address some concerns and misunderstandings.


Research objectives: 

Overall objective: To understand responses to the creative concepts.

More specifically, to identify:

  • Whether the campaign clearly communicates the causes, effects, treatment and prevention of hepatitis C;
  • Whether the campaign has the potential to motivate the target audience most at risk to seek a test;
  • Whether the target audience feels the campaign gives them sufficient information to avoid being infected when travelling ‘back home’;
  • Whether the campaign might create alarm within the Pakistani community resulting in people asking for tests unnecessarily

Hepatitis C is a virus transmitted via blood to blood contact with someone who is infected. There is no vaccine but chronic hepatitis C can be treated with drugs in approximately half of cases. Whilst prevalence of hepatitis C is low amongst the general population in England, there is some indication that serious liver disease related to chronic hepatitis C could rise markedly over the next 5 – 10 years. There are a number of transmission routes: injecting drugs, blood transfusions, infection abroad in countries of high hepatitis C prevalence, skin piecing with unsterilised needles and having unprotected sex with someone who has hepatitis C. Many countries are known to have high hepatitis rates. Pakistanis in particular are considered an increasingly high risk group for infection. Around 2 - 3% of Pakistani born people in the UK may have the virus. There is a need to raise awareness of hepatitis C and its prevention, diagnosis and treatment amongst Pakistanis. A communications campaign was developed for this community and the Department of Health commissioned research to support the creative development of the campaign.

Quick summary: 

Qualitative research to explore and understand responses to the different creative concepts for a campaign to raise awareness of Hepatitis C amongst the Pakistani community.

Audience Summary





Social Class: 



Data collection methodology: 
Focus groups
Sample size: 

Four mini groups (5 – 6 respondents in each) conducted amongst men and women from the Pakistani community aged between 20 and 55

Sample structure:


Group 1

1 x men aged 20 - 35


Group 2

1 x men aged 36 - 55


Group 3

1 x women aged between 20 - 35


Group 4

1 x women aged between 36 - 55



 A mix of length of stay in the UK (i.e. more established and more recent arrivals)


Fieldwork dates: 

December 2008

Contact Name: 
Sarah Barlon
Senior research manager
Agree to publish: 


Research agency: 
Ethnic Dimension
COI Number: