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Home > Evidence-based and theoretically-informed recommendations for scaling up HCV testing and treatment for people who inject drugs.

Hickman, Matt and Hutchinson, Sharon and Dillon, John and De Angelis, Daniela and Elliott, Lawrie and Foster, Graham and Goldberg, David J and Martin, Natasha and Eriksen, Ann J and Donnan, Peter T and Mandal, Sema and Vickerman, Peter and Hollingworth, William and Liddell, David and Flowers, Paul and Ijaz, Samreen and Harris, Magdalena (2021) Evidence-based and theoretically-informed recommendations for scaling up HCV testing and treatment for people who inject drugs. Scotland: Glasgow Caledonian University; University of Bristol; NHS Tayside; Scottish Drugs Forum.

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The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a blood-borne disease that can seriously damage the liver and is spread mainly through blood-to-blood contact with an infected person. Despite effective Opioid Substitution Treatment and Needle Syringe Programmes, chronic hepatitis C prevalence remains at around 40% among people who inject drugs in the UK. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set an elimination target to reduce hepatitis C transmission by 80% and deaths by 65% by 2030 and researchers believe this new method of getting treatment to those who inject drugs in communities will have a major impact on cutting incidence and death rates.

Key recommendations include introducing a nurse-led community service for hepatitis C testing and treatment, recruiting peer workers who know the local drug culture and creating close ties between existing community services for people who inject drugs. Researchers say the ideal model would be to house all these services in one building but where this is not possible the links between these services need to be strengthened including data sharing systems, role sharing and post-treatment care and support. A key part of that support is ongoing testing and treatment to prevent re-infection. It is hoped the guide will be rolled out across the UK and around the world. 

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