Theme: Models of Care Year: 2021
Background: Nested within End Hep C SF, a collective impact hepatitis C elimination initiative in San
Francisco, our research group embarked on a two-year NIH-funded research project on evidence-based
elimination approaches for young adult (≤30 years of age) people who inject drugs (PWID). Collaborative
data-sharing informed new care cascade estimates for this subgroup, and projection models assessed
progress toward elimination targets.
Description of model of care: We aimed to disseminate preliminary results and learn how they relate to
on-the-ground experiences, to inform subsequent model projections and ensure future interventions
capture the needs of young adult PWID. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to transition planned inperson activities (in-depth interviews and community forums) to a 90-minute virtual group consensus
meeting. We advertised the event via End Hep C SF, the University of California San Francisco, and
Effectiveness: Thirty-seven people (13 researchers, 19 service providers, 5 health department staff)
attended and offered information valuable for subsequent research aims. There was consensus on the
importance of focusing on young adult PWID, as many attendees noted that testing and treatment
patterns change as PWID age and failing to disaggregate research findings by age may lead to gaps in
service provision for younger PWID. Participants also noted that the lack of a point-of-care RNA test in
the US makes it nearly impossible to streamline diagnosis of active infection, inhibiting linkage to care
and hampering hepatitis C elimination efforts. Despite multiple recruitment efforts, including an
incentive for time and expertise, no young adult PWID attended the meeting.
Conclusion and next steps: As COVID-19 vaccination coverage increases, we will hold future in-person
activities with young adult PWID. Real-world perspectives of participants in a collective impact initiative
can directly inform transmission model parameters and other epidemiological research, thus improving
accuracy, relevance, and reach of academic research findings.
Disclosure of Interest Statement:
Drs. Facente, Vickerman, and Morris have received funding from Gilead Pharmaceuticals. No
pharmaceutical grants were received in the development of this study.