Improving Access To Hepatitis C Treatment For People Currently Injecting Drugs, A Sexual Health Clinic Model Of Care

Author: Ryder N, Woodward S, Voght K, Lindsay M

Theme: Models of Care Year: 2018

People who currently inject drugs are a key population for hepatitis C treatment. Cure leads
to significant health benefits for the individual and, through reducing transmission, reduces
new infections. Pacific Clinic, a sexual health clinic in Newcastle Australia, provides targeted
testing and treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for priority
populations, including people who inject drugs. With the advent of oral direct acting agents
for hepatitis C, Pacific Clinic was able to facilitate treatment for people who may not
otherwise engage with the health system. The clinic implemented a model of care to improve
access and ensure quality outcomes for people currently injecting drugs.
Description of model of care:
In addition to existing clinic practices that ensure free, non-judgmental and confidential care,
the clinic strengthened or enacted the following measures:
• worked with partner services to promote the clinic among people who inject drugs,
• improved the availability of walk-in appointments,
• integrated hepatitis assessment and treatment into general clinic sessions,
• adapted an existing incentivised screening model to incentivise follow-up care, and
• instituted an individualised case management service
Between March 2016 and July 2017, 79 clients were prescribed hepatitis C treatment, of
which 49 (62%) reported current (within 12 months) injecting drug use. Treatment
completion, as defined by collection of medication and/or self-report, was achieved by 71
(90%) of patients, with no difference between people who currently inject drugs and other
patients. 54 (96%) of those with data available at the time of analysis showed a sustained
viral response, or cure, again with no difference by injecting drug use status.
Conclusion and next steps:
By implementing an evidence based model of care a sexual health clinic successfully
provided an effective and targeted hepatitis C treatment service aimed at people who
currently inject drugs.
Disclosure of Interest Statement:
No conflict of interests reported

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