Theme: Social Science & Policy Research Year: 2019
Background: Due to the high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among people who injects drugs
(PWID) and prisoners in Europe, they should be priority populations for the elimination of HCV.
Where harm reduction services and targeted HCV treatment services for PWID and prisoners exist,
there is often limited implementation. This study aims to report on how well policies for these
populations are being implemented.
Methods: A survey was disseminated in October 2018 to 30 members of the European Liver
Patients’ Association, each representing one country, through the REDCap data collection tool.
Participants responded to 6 questions, validated through data extraction, about HCV testing and
treatment in prisons and harm reduction services in the general population and in prisons in their
country. Implementation was measured using a 5-point Likert scale and categorized into positive
(completely/mostly-implemented), neutral (moderately-implemented), or negative responses
Results: Twenty-five out of 30 patient groups participated. For needle-syringe programs (NSP) and
opioid substitution therapy (OST) in the general population, 21/25 countries had a verifiable
program. Ten participants responded positively to the implementation of NSPs, 6 neutrally, and 5
negatively. For OST implementation, 14 participants responded positively, 5 neutrally, and 2
negatively. Three countries had NSPs in prisons: 1 country responded neutrally while the other two
responded negatively. Of the 16 countries with OST in prisons, 9 responded positively, 3 neutrally,
and 4 negatively. Sixteen countries had a verifiable testing/screening and treatment program for
HCV in prisons. For testing/screening, 7 participants responded positively, 4 neutrally, and 5
negatively. For HCV treatment in prisons, 9 participants responded positively, 3 neutrally, and 4
Conclusion: Patient group respondents reported that harm reduction policies that are already in
place can be better implemented across Europe. If HCV is to be eliminated, these services need to be
available and accessible in practice.
Disclosure of Interest Statement: See example below: AP, CP, SRS, AMM, MM, and, MJR have no
conflict of interests to declare. GH reports grants from GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Merck Sharpe &
Dohme, AbbVie, Sanofi Pasteur, and Merck all outside the submitted work. MK reports funding from
AbbVie, Gilead, Janssen, and MSD, but none had any input in the design, analysis, or writing of this
work. JVL reports grants, personal fees, and non-financial support from AbbVie, Gilead Sciences, and
Merck Sharpe & Dohme, and personal fees from Janssen and Cepheid, all outside the submitted