JOURNAL ARTICLE

Recommendations for the management of hepatitis C virus infection among people who inject drugs

Jason Grebely, Geert Robaeys, Philip Bruggmann, Alessio Aghemo, Markus Backmund, Julie Bruneau, Jude Byrne, Olav Dalgard, Jordan J Feld, Margaret Hellard, Matthew Hickman, Achim Kautz, Alain Litwin, Andrew R Lloyd, Stefan Mauss, Maria Prins, Tracy Swan, Martin Schaefer, Lynn E Taylor, Gregory J Dore
International Journal on Drug Policy 2015, 26 (10): 1028-38
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In high income countries, the majority of new and existing hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections occur among people who inject drugs (PWID). In many low and middle income countries large HCV epidemics have also emerged among PWID populations. The burden of HCV-related liver disease among PWID is increasing, but treatment uptake remains extremely low. There are a number of barriers to care which should be considered and systematically addressed, but should not exclude PWID from HCV treatment. The rapid development of interferon-free direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for HCV infection has brought considerable optimism to the HCV sector, with the realistic hope that therapeutic intervention will soon provide near optimal efficacy with well-tolerated, short duration, all oral regimens. Further, it has been clearly demonstrated that HCV treatment is safe and effective across a broad range of multidisciplinary healthcare settings. Given the burden of HCV-related disease among PWID, strategies to enhance HCV assessment and treatment in this group are urgently needed. These recommendations demonstrate that treatment among PWID is feasible and provide a framework for HCV assessment and care. Further research is needed to evaluate strategies to enhance testing, linkage to care, treatment, adherence, viral cure, and prevent HCV reinfection among PWID, particularly as new interferon-free DAA treatments for HCV infection become available.

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