Research Think Tank - Addressing drug user health to achieve HCV elimination

 Viral hepatitis
 Public health

Lehar 2
English
Workshop
10 April 2019 08:00 - 11:00

This session is co-organised with the International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU)

Why will we need to address drug user health to achieve HCV elimination?

The availability of simple, well-tolerated, and effective treatment for HCV has expanded linkage to testing, care and treatment in many countries globally. However, restrictions based on liver disease stage, drug and/or alcohol use, and prescriber-type have limited access to new therapies in most countries.

In a number of countries in Europe and internationally, HCV treatment is now available for all people living with chronic HCV infection without restrictions, which has resulted in a high uptake of HCV treatment in those countries.

However, even in settings with broad access, there are still patient, provider, systems, and societal-level barriers that must be addressed to ensure that a large proportion of people who use drugs are tested, diagnosed, and linked to HCV care and treatment to achieve HCV elimination by 2030.

Any effort to provide HCV care among people who use drugs will require its integration with primary preventions services such as needle and syringe programmes and pharmacological treatment of opioid disorders. Otherwise, treating HCV without providing support to prevent reinfection and other health consequences of injecting drug use such as overdose, especially among individuals without significant fibrosis, will have reduced population health benefits. Conversely, overcomplicating the treatment of HCV infection may hinder the health systems ability to treat rapidly and to reach those who are unwilling to engage into care beyond HCV treatment, and therefore eliminate HCV by 2030.

In this EASL Think Tank, we will bring together stakeholders (politicians, policy makers, policy makers, practitioners and the community) in the areas of drug user health and HCV from key international societies and government to achieve the following aims:

  1. To provide insight into the broader health care issues which are faced by people who inject drugs;
  2. To provide a rationale for why strategies to enhance drug user health need to be coupled with hepatitis C prevention and treatment strategies;
  3. To discuss ongoing barriers towards the engagement of drug and alcohol practitioners in hepatitis C testing, linkage to care and treatment;
  4. To discuss the community perspective about the importance of taking a public health approach to drug use and drug-related harms (including the importance of harm reduction and potential role of decriminalization), and how this intersects with efforts to enhance hepatitis C prevention, testing, linkage to care and treatment for people who use drugs;
  5. To bring together leading international organizations focused on HCV substance use and global health and discuss different perspectives relevant to these issues through panel discussions; and
  6. To discuss opportunities for fostering inter-association collaboration to better achieve the integration of care for HCV and substance use among people who use drugs while pursuing HCV elimination by 2030.

Key questions for discussion Part 1:

  1. How do we ensure that we obtain an adequate balance between drug user health and hepatitis C elimination for people who use drugs?
  2. What are the key challenges and opportunities for better integration of HCV care within care for substance use?
  3. What can international societies do to improve the integration of services for HCV care, HCV prevention and care for drug user health?

Key questions for discussion Part 2:

  1. What are some of the key actions that are required by policy makers in order to enhance hepatitis C care and drug user health for people who inject drugs?
  2. How can the community be better supported in efforts to enhance hepatitis C care and drug user health for people who inject drugs?
  3. How can stakeholders better work together to collectively improve hepatitis C care and drug user health for people who inject drugs?

Presentations

Enhancing access to health care for people who use drugs
Martin Kåberg , Sweden
10 April 2019 08:00 - 08:15
Why is it critical to integrate care for drug user health and hepatitis C prevention, testing, and treatment?
Matthew Hickman , United Kingdom
10 April 2019 08:15 - 08:30
How can we address barriers towards the engagement of drug and alcohol practitioners in hepatitis C testing, linkage to care and treatment?
Stacey Trooskin , United States
10 April 2019 08:30 - 08:45
Panel discussion: Challenges and opportunities for better integration of HCV care within care for substance use
10 April 2019 08:45 - 09:30
Coffee break
10 April 2019 09:30 - 10:00
How can we better engage policy makers to enhance efforts to improve drug user health and hepatitis C prevention and treatment?
Ricardo Baptista Leite , Portugal
10 April 2019 10:00 - 10:15
Addressing harm reduction, drug user health and drug policies as key components to enhance hepatitis C prevention and care for people who use drugs
Judy Chang , United Kingdom
10 April 2019 10:15 - 10:30
Panel discussion: How can stakeholders better work together to collectively improve hepatitis C care and drug user health for people who inject drugs?
10 April 2019 10:30 - 11:00