JOURNAL ARTICLE

Are there national strategies, plans and guidelines for the treatment of hepatitis C in people who inject drugs? A survey of 33 European countries

Mojca Maticic, Jerneja Videcnik Zorman, Sergeja Gregorcic, Eberhard Schatz, Jeffrey V Lazarus
BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14: S14
25252635

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection represents a major global health problem, which in high-income countries now mostly affects people who inject drugs (PWID). Many studies show that the treatment of HCV infection is as successful among PWID as among other populations and recently PWID have been included in the international guidelines for the treatment of HCV infection. The aim of this survey was to collect data from European countries on the existence of national strategies, action plans and clinical guidelines for HCV treatment in the general population and PWID in particular.

METHODS: Thirty-three European countries were invited to participate. Data on available national strategies, action plans and guidelines for HCV treatment in general population and in PWID specifically were collected prospectively by means of a structured electronic questionnaire and analyzed accordingly.

RESULTS: All of the 33 invited European countries participated in the survey. Twenty-two responses came from non-governmental organizations, six from public health institutions, four from university institutions and one was an independent consultant. Fourteen (42.4%) of the countries reported having a national strategy and/or national action plan for HCV treatment, from which ten of them also reported having a national strategy and/or national action plan for treatment of HCV infection in PWID. Nearly three-quarters reported having national HCV treatment guidelines. PWID were included in the majority (66.7%) of the guidelines. Fourteen (42.4%) countries reported having separate guidelines for the treatment of HCV infection in PWID.

CONCLUSIONS: Given the high burden of HCV-related morbidity and mortality in PWID in Europe, the management of HCV infection should become a healthcare priority in all European countries, starting with developing or using already-existing national strategies, action plans and guidelines for this population.

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