alexa Abstract | Community-Based Infectious Disease Clinics: A Tool Of Engagement For Vulnerable Populations

Journal of Hepatitis
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Research Article Open Access

Abstract

Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major international public health concern, particularly among people who inject drugs (PWID). The Downtown East Side of Vancouver (DTES) is known for a high prevalence of HCV infection. Despite available services, significant numbers of patients remain undiagnosed or lack access to potentially curative therapy. As such, there is a need to develop innovative means of recruitment into care and to assess the interest to seek care. Methods: Community pop-up clinics (CPCs) were held at several DTES sites (including InSite, the first supervised injection facility in North America). HCV point-of-care testing was offered. Participants were also offered the opportunity to complete a survey to collect demographic information as well as data related to their knowledge about HCV treatment and readiness to receive it. A $10 incentive was offered for participation.

Results: Since the inception of the program in March 2013, 1743 individuals have been tested, of which 1125 individuals completed the survey (implemented in January 2014), with 568 (33%) infected with HCV. About 45% were unaware of a cure for this infection, but a vast majority (over 80%) would consider HCV treatment for it, if it was offered.

Conclusions: Despite the existence of a cure for HCV infection, several barriers to HCV treatment have been identified, particularly in vulnerable populations. These barriers can exist on the levels of the patient, healthcare provider, and the health care system as a whole. There is a significant gap in HCV treatment knowledge, but a general willingness to receive care. Innovative low-threshold programs must be developed to engage those individuals in care.

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Author(s): Brian Conway Syune Hakobyan Sahand Vafadary Tyler Raycraft Shawn Sharma

Keywords

Chronic hepatitis C, People who inject drugs, Treatment barriersc

 
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