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Access to Hepatitis C Treatment and Care Among People Who Inject Drugs: Failing People Most Disproportionately Affected

Issue brief

Accurate, high-quality data on hepatitis C continues to be a struggle for countries that are scaling up treatment access, expanding testing services, and developing national hepatitis plans. There is scarce information about how people who inject drugs (PWID) are factored into national hepatitis plans and to what extent they are being tested, treated, and linked to harm reduction and other healthcare services. Crowd-sourced data from the free, public database, mapCrowd, has been collected between 9 April and 30 October, 2019 from over 44 countries, provided by 60 mapCrowd contributors.

To supplement their contributions, we conducted a review of the literature and exchanged data with the World Health Organization and Harm Reduction International. We managed to gather updated data related to the following points:

  • Estimated number of people who inject drugs
  • Estimated national HCV antibody and viremic prevalence among people who inject drugs
  • Existence of number of treatment restrictions, including abstinence from substances
  • Estimated treatment uptake in the general population and among people who inject drugs
  • Whether harm reduction services are included in national policies

Based on this data, we summarize key findings, noting that in-country contributors provide project-specific data and may not provide a comprehensive view of all the realities facing people who inject drugs and their health needs, including HCV.

The issue brief aims to provide supplemental evidence for advocates on treatment uptake and care among people who inject drugs, which could help inform national and regional campaigns