Hepatitis C in People Who Use Drugs: Timeline From Screening to Cure

Author: Alexandra Aguiar Ana Marques Andreia Pinto Ferreira

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2022

Portugal is committed to the goals defined by the WHO in 2016, with a view to eliminating hepatitis
C by 2030. Despite the high efficacy of new direct-acting antiviral drugs (DAA) in eliminating the
infection, the low rate of diagnosis and treatment in people who inject drugs (PWID) compromises
their healing potential.
The results were collected from 264 HCV screening sessions for PWID in Cascais and Oeiras between
11/01/2020 – 12/31/2021 at SER+, in a Mobile Unit and in ETET (Specialized Technical Treatment
Team) Oeiras/Cascais.
Screening sessions and clinical monitoring were carried out by 2 specialized technicians, and linkage
and follow-up to health care provided by a peer.
148/264 were tested for HCV; 134/148 not reactive; 18/148 reactive; 2/18 did not accept to be
referenced; 10/18 dropped out; 6/18 were followed up. 2/6 are cured now.
74/116 did not perform the test, because they were cured; 9/116 not tested, (reactive for HCV, in
treatment); 33/116 not tested, (reactive for HCV, but not linked to care); 32/33 were reconnected to
care; 15/32 dropped out; 17/32 were followed up, two are cured now; 15/17 of those who remain in
follow-up, four started therapy.
55% of those who dropped out, refused peer mediation; 95% of those who followed up, accepted
peer mediation.
There is a low rate of diagnosis and treatment in this population, compromising their healing
potential, despite a significant higher adherence in cases that accepted peer mediation. In recent
years, different models of treatment for hepatitis C outside the hospital environment have been
studied, seeking to increase its accessibility. It was found that it is possible to obtain high rates of
adherence and response to therapy (above 90%) with weekly/biweekly drug dispensing schedules, in
places such as community centers attended by patients undergoing addiction treatment.
Disclosure of Interest Statement:
No grants were received for this abstract.

Download abstract Download poster