Article

Barriers to and Facilitators of Hepatitis C Testing, Management, and Treatment Among Current and Former Injecting Drug Users: A Qualitative Exploration

Centre for Immediate Care Services, School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
AIDS patient care and STDs (Impact Factor: 3.58). 12/2010; 24(12):753-62. DOI: 10.1089/apc.2010.0142
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hepatitis C (HCV) infection is common among injecting drug users (IDUs), yet accessing of HCV care, particularly HCV treatment, is suboptimal. There has been little in-depth study of IDUs experiences of what enables or prevents them engaging at every level of HCV care, including testing, follow-up, management and treatment processes. This qualitative study aimed to explore these issues with current and former IDUs in the greater Dublin area, Ireland. From September 2007 to September 2008 in-depth interviews were conducted with 36 service-users across a range of primary and secondary care services, including: two addiction clinics, a general practice, a community drop-in center, two hepatology clinics, and an infectious diseases clinic. Interviews were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Barriers to HCV care included perceptions of HCV infection as relatively benign, fear of investigations and treatment, and feeling well. Perceptions were shaped by the discourse about HCV and "horror stories" about the liver biopsy and treatment within their peer networks. Difficulties accessing HCV care included limited knowledge of testing sites, not being referred for specialist investigations and ineligibility for treatment. Employment, education, and addiction were priorities that competed with HCV care. Relationships with health care providers influenced engagement with care: Trust in providers, concern for the service-user, and continuity of care fostered engagement. Education on HCV infection, investigations, and treatment altered perceptions. Becoming symptomatic, responsibilities for children, and wanting to move on from drug use motivated HCV treatment. In conclusion, IDUs face multiple barriers to HCV care. A range of facilitators were identified that could inform future interventions.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Davina Swan, Jun 01, 2014
1 Follower
 · 
73 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: HCV (hepatitis C) treatment uptake among the population most affected - people who inject drugs - is suboptimal. Hospital based treatment provision is one evidenced barrier to HCV treatment uptake. In response, HCV treatment is increasingly located in treatment settings seen as more amenable to people who inject drugs, such as drug and alcohol services. We explored the accessibility of HCV treatment provision at two such partnerships. Data collection comprised qualitative interviews collected in 2011 and 2012 with 35 service users and 14 service providers of HCV treatment in London, United Kingdom. We draw here primarily on thematic analyses of service provider accounts, yet narratives relating to trust and environment emerged unsolicited in both user and provider accounts of negotiated HCV treatment access. A key theme in service provider accounts were strategies they deployed to 'tame' the treatment system so as to create an 'enabling environment' of care, in which trust was a critical feature. This 'taming' of the system was enacted through practices of 'negotiated flexibility', including in relation to appointments, eligibility, and phlebotomy. Service user accounts accentuated familiar environments and known health providers as those most trusted, and the potentially stigmatising effects of negotiating treatment in unfamiliar territory, especially hospital settings. Whilst noting the effects of provider strategies to negotiate flexibility on behalf of would-be patients seeking treatment, we conclude by noting the limits of trust relations in settings of constrained choice.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 04/2013; 83:19-26. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.01.031 · 2.56 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It is assumed that people who inject drugs (PWID) care little about their health. This emerges from social and moral perceptions of PWID and is framed by research that focuses on their morbidity and mortality. Drawing on the narratives of Australian women who inject drugs, we examined the salience of health for our participants and the contexts that structure their descriptions of health and wellbeing. We conducted qualitative interviews with 83 women who inject drugs and live with hepatitis C virus (HCV) to explore their experiences of health and health care seeking. Although the interviews focused on HCV, women discussed their health within broader contexts of drug dependence, unstable housing, unemployment, financial strain, other health issues and relationships. Concern about HCV was less pronounced than concerns about other health problems and socio-economic circumstances. Broadening the focus of health beyond drug use alone, women's narratives strongly suggest that PWID can and do care about their health. Whilst research and policy often focus on health problems and barriers to health amongst PWID, the women in our sample maintained positive health beliefs and behaviours. Much like other members of society, their health priorities are contextualised by cultural, economic and political factors. This suggests that health interventions aimed at women who inject drugs could build upon the salience of a range of health priorities as well as integrating these with structural interventions designed to improve housing and economic status.
    The International journal on drug policy 06/2012; 23(4):312-8. DOI:10.1016/j.drugpo.2012.01.003 · 2.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chronic hepatitis C is frequent and aggressive among HIV-positive patients; evaluation for anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific therapy is mandatory, but it has many limitations, due to efficacy, tolerability but also applicability. The objective of our retrospective analysis was to evaluate the eligibility and feasibility of anti-HCV therapy in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients followed at the II Department of Infectious Diseases, L. Sacco Hospital, Milan, Italy, from 2000 to March 2010. In our database, 545 HIV/HCV-coinfected patients were present, representing 40% of our whole HIV population, and 421 included in the analysis. One hundred twenty-four patients were excluded because of loss to follow-up (81) or deceased (43). Forty-eight patients spontaneously cleared HCV during follow-up (11%). Ninety-nine patients received anti-HCV therapy (26%), while the majority was excluded for several reasons (mainly concomitant diseases and low CD4(+) cell count). Globally, we found that in at least one third of untreated patients modifiable barriers to treatment were present. The access to therapy was significantly associated with the absence of history of intravenous drug use (p=0.01), a higher CD4(+) cells count at nadir (p=0.01), the presence of more than 6 HAART regimens (p=0.04), higher alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (p<0.0001), HCV genotype 2 or 3 (p=0.005). In a multivariate analysis, the same factors remained significantly associated with anti-HCV therapy. In conclusion, the feasibility of anti-HCV therapy in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients, in our highly specialized center, is approximately 26%. Relative contraindications, such as substance abuses, mild and controlled concomitant conditions, and low compliance are common and modifiable in order to reconsider patients as suitable for therapy.
    AIDS patient care and STDs 04/2011; 25(5):295-301. DOI:10.1089/apc.2010.0342 · 3.58 Impact Factor