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Hepatitis C treatment access and uptake for people who inject drugs: a review mapping the role of social factors

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      BackgroundEvidence documents successful hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment outcomes for people who inject drugs (PWID) and interest in HCV treatment among this population. Maximising HCV treatment for PWID can be an effective HCV preventative measure. Yet HCV treatment among PWID remains suboptimal. This review seeks to map social factors mediating HCV treatment access.MethodWe undertook a review of the social science and public health literature pertaining to HCV treatment for PWID, with a focus on barriers to treatment access, uptake and completion. Medline and Scopus databases were searched, supplemented by manual and grey literature searches. A two step search was taken, with the first step pertaining to literature on HCV treatment for PWID and the second focusing on social structural factors. In total, 596 references were screened, with 165 articles and reports selected to inform the review.ResultsClinical and individual level barriers to HCV treatment among PWID are well evidenced. These include patient and provider concerns regarding co-morbidities, adherence, and side effect management. Social factors affecting treatment access are less well evidenced. In attempting to map these, key barriers fall into the following domains: social stigma, housing, criminalisation, health care systems, and gender. Key facilitating factors to treatment access include: combination intervention approaches encompassing social as well as biomedical interventions, low threshold access to opiate substitution therapy, and integrated delivery of multidisciplinary care.ConclusionCombination intervention approaches need to encompass social interventions in relation to housing, stigma reduction and systemic changes in policy and health care delivery. Future research needs to better delineate social factors affecting treatment access.

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      Most cited references 113

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      Diagnosis, management, and treatment of hepatitis C: an update.

       L. Thomas,  ,  Marc G Ghany (2009)
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        Global epidemiology of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in people who inject drugs: results of systematic reviews.

        Injecting drug use is an important risk factor for transmission of viral hepatitis, but detailed, transparent estimates of the scale of the issue do not exist. We estimated national, regional, and global prevalence and population size for hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) in injecting drug users (IDUs). We systematically searched for data for HBV and HCV in IDUs in peer-reviewed databases (Medline, Embase, and PsycINFO), grey literature, conference abstracts, and online resources, and made a widely distributed call for additional data. From 4386 peer-reviewed and 1019 grey literature sources, we reviewed 1125 sources in full. We extracted studies into a customised database and graded them according to their methods. We included serological reports of HCV antibodies (anti-HCV), HBV antibodies (anti-HBc), or HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) in studies of IDUs with more than 40 participants (<100% HIV-positive) and sampling frames that did not exclude participants on the basis of age or sex. With endorsed decision rules, we calculated prevalence estimates with anti-HCV and anti-HBc as proxies for exposure and HBsAg as proxy for current infection. We combined these estimates with IDU population sizes to calculate the number of IDUs with positive HBV or HCV statuses. We located eligible reports with data for prevalence of anti-HCV in IDUs for 77 countries; midpoint prevalence estimates suggested 60-80% of IDUs had anti-HCV in 25 countries and more than 80% of IDUs did so in 12 countries. About 10.0 million (range 6.0-15.2) IDUs worldwide might be anti-HCV positive. China (1.6 million), USA (1.5 million), and Russia (1.3 million) had the largest such populations. We identified eligible HBsAg reports for 59 countries, with midpoint prevalence estimates of 5-10% in 21 countries and more than 10% in ten countries. Worldwide, we estimate 6.4 million IDUs are anti-HBc positive (2.3-9.7 million), and 1.2 million (0.3-2.7 million) are HBsAg positive. More IDUs have anti-HCV than HIV infection, and viral hepatitis poses a key challenge to public health. Variation in the coverage and quality of existing research creates uncertainty around estimates. Improved and more complete data and reporting are needed to estimate the scale of the issue, which will inform efforts to prevent and treat HCV and HBV in IDUs. WHO and US National Institutes of Health (NIDA R01 DA018609). Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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          HIV and risk environment for injecting drug users: the past, present, and future.

          We systematically reviewed reports about determinants of HIV infection in injecting drug users from 2000 to 2009, classifying findings by type of environmental influence. We then modelled changes in risk environments in regions with severe HIV epidemics associated with injecting drug use. Of 94 studies identified, 25 intentionally examined risk environments. Modelling of HIV epidemics showed substantial heterogeneity in the number of HIV infections that are attributed to injecting drug use and unprotected sex. We estimate that, during 2010-15, HIV prevalence could be reduced by 41% in Odessa (Ukraine), 43% in Karachi (Pakistan), and 30% in Nairobi (Kenya) through a 60% reduction of the unmet need of programmes for opioid substitution, needle exchange, and antiretroviral therapy. Mitigation of patient transition to injecting drugs from non-injecting forms could avert a 98% increase in HIV infections in Karachi; whereas elimination of laws prohibiting opioid substitution with concomitant scale-up could prevent 14% of HIV infections in Nairobi. Optimisation of effectiveness and coverage of interventions is crucial for regions with rapidly growing epidemics. Delineation of environmental risk factors provides a crucial insight into HIV prevention. Evidence-informed, rights-based, combination interventions protecting IDUs' access to HIV prevention and treatment could substantially curtail HIV epidemics. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H9SH, UK
            Contributors
            Journal
            Harm Reduct J
            Harm Reduct J
            Harm Reduction Journal
            BioMed Central
            1477-7517
            2013
            7 May 2013
            : 10
            : 7
            23651646
            3686576
            1477-7517-10-7
            10.1186/1477-7517-10-7
            Copyright ©2012 Harris and Rhodes; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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