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More than Tested, Cured - Overcoming Barriers to HCV Care
The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) has partnered with the Urban Survivors Union (USU), the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance (PHRA), and the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition (AHRC) for a one year project aimed at addressing three of the most significant challenges associated with diagnosing hepatitis C (HCV) in individuals who use drugs and identifying best practices to assist those individuals in overcoming personal and systemic barriers to care. This project develops novel ways to engage individuals who use drugs while aiming to establish long-term, sustainable partnerships with public health stakeholders in an effort to introduce new paradigms of holistic care. Stigma and misconceptions held by patients as well as medical providers serve as significant barriers to identifying, treating, and curing hepatitis C among people who use drugs. The findings of this project will be disseminated nationally, and strategies can be refined and adapted in agencies across the country.
This project addresses barriers at three points along the hepatitis C (HCV) care cascade:
1) Patient education – We will develop HCV education materials that are created by and for people who use drugs which include one video and four print companion pieces by end of one year grant.
2) Primary care referral to treatment - We will develop training and educational materials for primary care providers, including at least two pamphlets, two PowerPoint presentations, and one compilation of research articles and a report summarizing qualitative patient and provider experiences by end of one year grant.
3) Specialty care provision of treatment - We will develop at least two presentations and two packets of educational materials to address the misconceptions, stigma, and other reasons for refusal of specialty providers to treat drug users.
An Open Community Call to Discuss the Barriers to Hepatitis C Care for People Who Use Drugs
This call was the first public activity of this project and was held on March 6, 2017 and involved over 100 participants. The discussion focused on challenges that community organizations face in accessing hepatitis C prevention, care, and treatment services for people who use drugs. Common concerns included insurance coverage inequities, stigma among providers, and provider resistance to treat due to concerns about reinfection. Some solutions that were discussed included provider education programs (mostly intended to reduce stigma), patient education programs (that involve peer educators) and working with community partners to improve access to care for people who use drugs.
Click here for the call notes