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HSE National Social Inclusion. (2012) National hepatitis C strategy 2011-2014. Dublin: Health Service Executive.

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It is estimated that between 20,000 and 50,000 people in Ireland are infected with the Hepatitis C virus. There is very effective treatment now available for Hepatitis C, which eliminates the virus in over 50% of cases. However, there is still a need for a coordinated approach to surveillance, treatment and support.

Many people are still unaware of the risk factors for contracting Hepatitis C and unknowingly engage in behaviours that put them at risk of contracting the virus. Injecting drug use is the leading risk behaviour for transmission of Hepatitis C. In particular, the sharing of injecting equipment poses the greatest risk of exposure to the Hepatitis C virus (prevalence in population of injecting drug users in Ireland ranges from 62%-81%).

The National Hepatitis C Strategy lays out a clear plan with timelines to reduce transmission of Hepatitis C and to improve the care of patients infected with Hepatitis C in Ireland. Implementation of the Strategy will be challenging in the current climate, however a number of the recommendations are already well underway. Other cost neutral recommendations which promote an enhanced, integrated approach towards care and management of Hepatitis C infected service users will be the initial focus of implementation.

Professor Joe Barry, Chair of the HSE National Hepatitis C Strategy Working Group, welcomed the publication of the report, commenting; "We have produced a set of recommendations with timelines which will improve the prevention, detection and treatment of Hepatitis C among all infected groups in Ireland".
Summary of the Recommendations

Surveillance
• Strengthening of the Hepatitis C notification system
• Enabling appropriate follow up on newly diagnosed cases
• Improving knowledge around Hepatitis C infection in Ireland

Prevention
• Prevention of infection through initiatives targeting drug use
• Developing targeted strategies for socially excluded groups
• Promoting guidelines governing tattooing, permanent makeup or body piercing
• Enhancing provision of up-to-date, accurate communication and information around Hepatitis C

Screening and Laboratory Testing
• Access to diagnostic facilities, release of results of screening etc
• Screening of new entrants to the health system
• Issues around screening and uptake among the prison population

Treatment
• Guidance on clinical issues
• Barriers to treatment uptake and adherence
• Hepatitis C care in custody
• Overall care issues around Hepatitis C


Date:2012
Pages:74 p.
Publisher:Health Service Executive
Corporate Creators:HSE National Social Inclusion
Place of Publication:Dublin
ISBN:978-1-906218-58-4
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care delivery
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Substance use prevention > Substance use harm reduction
G Health and disease > Disorder by cause > Communicable disease > Hepatitis C
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care administration > Health care quality control
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Programme planning, implementation, and evaluation > Programme planning (strategy)
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use > Harm reduction policy

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