Hepatitis C: Access to prevention, testing, treatment and care for people who use drugs
HCV prevention, screening, early diagnosis, and treatment among people who inject drugs have been proven to be both effective and cost effective. However, at present polices responding to HCV are inconsistent, or non-existent across Europe.24 Oct 2014
Hepatitis C: Access to Prevention, Testing, Treatment and Care for People who Use Drugs
Hepatitis C is a Major Global Public Health Problem! THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!
150 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), of those infected, nine million are living in the European region. The burden of HCV is concentrated among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Europe, with HCV antibody prevalence ranging from 21% in Finland to over 90% in Estonia. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified people who inject drugs as a key target group for HCV prevention and treatment.
In spite of European guidelines recommending treatment access people who use drugs still face considerable barriers to, and are frequently denied, access to the newly approved HCV treatment regimens. Major European and international agencies working in, or involved with health and drugs, such as WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS, EMCDDA and ECDC consider viral hepatitis, especially among people who inject drugs, a serious public health problem.
At present polices responding to HCV are inconsistent, or non-existent across Europe. The broad range of issues pertaining to HCV have not been thoroughly included in European and/or national policies, or comprehensively dealt with among designated stakeholders. HCV prevention, screening, early diagnosis, and treatment among people who inject drugs have been proven to be both effective and cost effective. Research exploring the values and preferences of people who inject drugs with regards to HCV treatment has found that concerns about side effects; limited HCV knowledge; rationed treatment expectations; experiences of treatment refusal due to drug use; stigma and discrimination within healthcare settings; and difficulties associated with hospital systems pose significant hurdles for HCV treatment, access and uptake.Share this on: