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Drug User Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conservatively estimates that 3.2 million people in the U.S. are living with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV). This number is likely an underestimate due to disjointed HCV surveillance across the nation. Given that an estimated 80% of new HCV infections occur among people who inject drugs (PWID), it is critical to prioritize this population for screening, linkage, and treatment both to address the community’s healthcare needs and to halt the increase in new infections.
Communities of PWID have not only very high prevalence of hepatitis C, but also constitute the population at high risk for new infections. Despite expert guidance from American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD)/Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), the International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU), and the World Health Organization (WHO), PWID are systematically denied access to new curative therapies and science-based prevention strategies in discussions surrounding hepatitis C treatment access.
NVHR supports drug policy initiatives aimed at increasing access to harm reduction services, drug treatment options, and prevention of hepatitis B and C through addressing the opioid/heroin addiction crisis. Our activities and responsibilities below highlight this commitment.
NVHR is a member of the Coalition for Syringe Access (CSA), a national organization of stakeholders, including medical societies, policy and community groups, and individual programs working in communities to provide prevention and health care services related to syringe service programs and harm reduction.
NVHR also serves as a steering committee member of the CSA coalition. In this role, we work to ensure that viral hepatitis is included in discussions surrounding drug user health, harm reduction programs, syringe service programs, and prevention methods tied to the opioid epidemic.
Follow the Coalition for Syringe Access on Twitter to stay updated on issues related to syringe access, viral hepatitis, and drug user health!
Department of Health and Human Services Implementation Guidance to Support Certain Components of Syringe Services Programs March 29, 2016
This document provides implementation guidance for programs directly funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) interested in implementing or expanding syringe services programs (SSPs) for persons who inject drugs (PWID).
Coalition for Syringe Access Press Release: Congressional Briefings Tout Benefits, Debunk Myths of Syringe Services Programs October 30, 2015
The Coalition for Syringe Access (CSA) hosted two Congressional Briefings on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, where they touted the benefits and debunked the myths of syringe service programs (SSPs). A group of law enforcement officials, medical providers, academic representatives, and community advocates convened to discuss Congress ending the ban on federal support for SSPs.
OASIS: A film about a community-based clinic treatment current and former drug users for hepatitis C October 19, 2015
This film takes viewers inside a struggling community-based clinic called O.A.S.I.S., which specializes in treating current and former intravenous drug users for Hepatitis C. This film shows the resilience of O.A.S.I.S. patients and its staff that's become known for its dedication to treating this population without judgment or stigma.
NVHR & National LGBTQ Task Force Submit Comments to CDC August 31, 2015
NVHR and the National LGBTQ Task Force submitted comments to the CDC regarding CDC’s Proposed Data Collection: "Prevent Hepatitis Transmission Among Persons Who Inject Drugs." Their recommendations include adding sexual orientation to demographics questions and adding street hormones to safe injection practices for LGBTQ youth.
Coalition for Syringe Access: Lifting the Ban July 14, 2015
NVHR and the Coalition for Syringe Access created a two-page document outlining the argument for lifting the federal ban on syringe service programs (SSPs), including their role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases like hepatitis C and HIV, saving taxpayer dollars, and preserving public safety.
NVHR Letters in Support of "The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act" (TREAT Act) June 15, 2015
NVHR wrote this letter of support to members of the House of Representatives regarding the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment (TREAT) Act, arguing that the TREAT Act provides for increased access to medication-assisted therapy (MAT) for opioid-dependent persons, also serving a vital role in stemming the tide of a resurgent hepatitis C epidemic.
NVHR Letters in Support of Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (CARA) June 1, 2015
NVHR drafted this letter of support for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (CARA), arguing that CARA outlines a broad strategy to address the opioid and heroin abuse crisis in our communities and can also serve a vital role in stemming the tide of a resurgent hepatitis C epidemic.
Nobody Left Behind - The importance of integrating people who inject drugs into HCV treatment programs June 26, 2014
The vast majority of people with chronic HCV infection live in low- and middle-income countries, where access to HCV treatment remains very limited. This document develops core arguments for why it is relevant, feasible, and indeed crucial to include people who inject drugs in national treatment guidelines and programs for chronic HCV infection – from both public health and human rights perspectives.
NVHR Endorses S.2839, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014 October 16, 2014
NVHR has endorsed S.2839, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014. This legislation outlines a broad strategy to address the opioid and heroin misuse crisis. The legislation has great potential to stem the tide of new hepatitis C infections among people who inject drugs.