Theme: Models of Care Year: 2022
Background: To reduce the burden of hepatitis C (HCV) and reach elimination goals, we must
increase treatment among people who inject drugs (PWID). Our three harm reduction organizations
solicited the perspectives of drug user union and syringe services programs (SSP) participants to
identify effective ways to engage PWID in HCV treatment. Recommendations included a holistic
approach and co-locating treatment at SSPs.
Description of model of care/intervention: In 2021, we developed HCV treatment programs colocated at SSPs that provide complementary care to address concurrent needs of PWID living with
HCV. We provide HCV treatment at fixed and mobile SSP sites and offer medication lockers for PWID
who need secure access to their medication. We also provide HCV treatment via telemedicine. To
meet other needs of PWID that may impact their engagement in HCV care, we provide sterile
syringes and injection supplies, testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, primary
care, suboxone, wound care, and COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.
Effectiveness: While we are still refining our care model, we treated 136 PWID for HCV last year. We
have increased engagement among PWID who had previously refused treatment. Telemedicine has
allowed us to reach rural PWID. Through collaborations with HCV providers who treat our
participants, we have reduced the need for SSP personnel to provide case management and have
been able to redirect those efforts to supporting more PWID initiate treatment.
Conclusion and next steps: Identifying novel models of care to effectively engage PWID in HCV
treatment is key to reduce infections among those most impacted by HCV. Incorporating the insights
of PWID and drug user unions is important to design programs that will appeal to PWID living with
HCV. We continue to refine and evaluate our treatment programs and identify optimal
complementary services to further engage PWID in HCV care.
Disclosure of Interest Statement: This project has received funding from Gilead Sciences.