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From Principle to Practice: Involving Communities in Research Design for Effective Hepatitis C Prevention

Marginalized groups including people who inject drugs are disproportionately affected by diseases like hepatitis C. Though they represent roughly 10% of the 50 million people infected with hepatitis C worldwide, injection drug use contributes to 43% of all new infections. Unitaid has a longstanding commitment to address hepatitis C and is stepping up support especially among people who use drugs with a US$31 million investment in harm reduction efforts launched in 2023 across 10 low- and middle-income countries.

In partnership with Frontline AIDS, Médecines du Monde and PATH, Unitaid’s funding will support the integration of hepatitis C testing and treatment in harm reduction services, while trialing the use of two underused products to prevent infection: low dead space syringes and new slow-release formulations of buprenorphine, which provide longer-term opioid agonist treatment support through injection. The investment will generate evidence to inform the global guidance of the World Health Organization.

Central to this work is Unitaid’s hepatitis C portfolio Community Advisory Board which is led by the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD). The Community Advisory Board is made up of communities from the project countries who meet to discuss the design and development of the research, and who will be involved throughout implementation of the projects. The goal for Unitaid and its implementing partners is to ensure that individuals directly impacted by disease are not just consulted, but that they are helping to shape the health solutions that will be designed to serve them. The Community Advisory Board for this project is made up of two people from each country that will have pilot sites: Armenia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine and Viet Nam.

Read the full story here.

Source: Unitaid