Attitudes towards Hepatitis C and Treatment Willingness among People Who Inject Drugs: A Follow-Up Interview Study

Author: Dahlman D; Förnvik M; Isendahl P; Nilsson S; Troberg K; Bråbäck M; Håkansson A

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2016


Dahlman D1,3; Förnvik M1; Isendahl P2; Nilsson S3; Troberg K3; Bråbäck M1,3; Håkansson A1,3

1. Division of Psychiatry, Dept. of Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund.

2. Department of Infectious Diseases, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö.

3. Malmö Addiction Centre, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö.

Background: Many people who inject drugs (PWID) and patients in opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), yet few are treated. With OMT, expected life length increases, and the incitement increases to treat HCV in order to avoid long term complications. This study investigates attitudes towards HCV and HCV treatment willingness among PWID with opioid dependence through interviews just before entering OMT and after 6 months in OMT.

Methods: PWID with opioid dependence who were eligible for OMT were recruited from Malmö needle exchange program (NEP) from October 2011 to April 2013. They had a structured baseline interview (N=83) including 20 questions concerning HCV, led by social workers. After 6 months, all patients who successfully entered OMT and were still enrolled (N=56) had a follow-up interview carried out by the same interviewers. Correlations between treatment willingness and variables from the interviews were calculated using Pearson’s Chi-Square test. Change over time was determined by McNemar Test.

Results: At baseline, 80% (n=66) reported that they were HCV positive. Of these, 23% (n=15) reported having been further assessed for HCV, while 70% (n=46) had not and 8% (n=5) did not know. Two patients had received treatment for HCV infection. A majority at both baseline and follow-up (54 and 59%, respectively) wanted more information about HCV. Of those infected with HCV, only 12% at both baseline and follow-up thought that HCV affected their lives, but more than two thirds wanted treatment for HCV later or immediately. No significant change in treatment willingness was found after 6 month in OMT, and none of the assessed variables were significantly associated with treatment willingness.

Conclusion: The results indicate that there is need for inclusion of more information about and easy referral to HCV therapy as part of OMT.

Disclosure of Interest Statement: The poster contributors recognise the considerable contribution that industry partners make to professional and research activities. We also recognise the need for transparency of disclosure of potential conflicts of interest by acknowledging these relationships in publications and presentations. The poster contributors report no conflict of interest relevant for this study.

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