A framework for understanding factors that affect access and utilization of treatment for hepatitis C virus infection among HCV-mono-infected and HIV/HCV-co-infected injection drug users.
ABSTRACT Treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) is rarely received by injection drug users (IDU), particularly those co-infected with HIV. We propose a framework for understanding factors that affect utilization and adherence to HCV therapy among HCV mono-infected and HIV/HCV-co-infected IDU. Provision of treatment requires calculation of risks and benefits including evaluation of a number of time-varying factors that collectively determine a gradient of treatment eligibility, advisability and acceptability, the relative importance of which may differ in co-infected and mono-infected IDU. Treatment eligibility is determined by a number of non-modifiable and modifiable contraindications, the latter of which can change over time rendering patients who were once ineligible eligible. Among those eligible, treatment need can be assessed by liver biopsy and therapy may be deferred in those with no liver disease and started in those with significant liver disease. Among those with moderate disease, further consideration of treatment advisability (medical factors that affect treatment response) and acceptability (individual, provider and environmental barriers) is needed before treatment decisions are made. These factors are dynamic and thus should be continually evaluated even among those who may not initially appear to be ready for treatment. An evaluation of this framework is needed to determine applicability and feasibility. Until then, treatment decisions should be made on an individual basis after careful consideration of these issues by provider and patient and efforts to develop novel strategies for identifying IDU who need treatment most (alternatives to liver biopsy) and multidimensional approaches to deliver treatment for HCV while addressing other factors including HIV infection, depression and drug use should be continued.
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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) has a significant global health burden with an estimated 2%-3% of the world's population infected, and more than 350,000 dying annually from HCV-related conditions including liver failure and liver cancer. Prisons potentially offer a relatively stable environment in which to commence treatment as they usually provide good access to health care providers, and are organised around routine and structure. Uptake of treatment of HCV, however, remains low in the community and in prisons. In this study, we explored factors affecting treatment uptake inside prisons and hypothesised that prisoners have unique issues influencing HCV treatment uptake as a consequence of their incarceration which are not experienced in other populations. We undertook a qualitative study exploring prisoners' accounts of why they refused, deferred, delayed or discontinued HCV treatment in prison. Between 2010 and 2013, 116 Australian inmates were interviewed from prisons in New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia. Prisoners experienced many factors similar to those which influence treatment uptake of those living with HCV infection in the community. Incarceration, however, provides different circumstances of how these factors are experienced which need to be better understood if the number of prisoners receiving treatment is to be increased. We developed a descriptive model of patient readiness and motivators for HCV treatment inside prisons and discussed how we can improve treatment uptake among prisoners. This study identified a broad and unique range of challenges to treatment of HCV in prison. Some of these are likely to be diminished by improving treatment options and improved models of health care delivery. Other barriers relate to inmate understanding of their illness and stigmatisation by other inmates and custodial staff and generally appear less amenable to change although there is potential for peer-based education to address lack of knowledge and stigma.PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e87564. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0087564 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract This review synthesized the literature for barriers to HCV antiviral treatment in persons with HIV/HCV co-infection. Searches of PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and Web of Science were conducted to identify relevant articles. Articles were excluded based on the following criteria: study conducted outside of the United States, not original research, pediatric study population, experimental study design, non-HIV or non-HCV study population, and article published in a language other than English. Sixteen studies met criteria and varied widely in terms of study setting and design. Hepatic decompensation was the most commonly documented absolute/nonmodifiable medical barrier. Substance use was widely reported as a relative/modifiable medical barrier. Patient-level barriers included nonadherence to medical care, refusal of therapy, and social circumstances. Provider-level barriers included provider inexperience with antiviral treatment and/or reluctance of providers to refer patients for treatment. There are many ongoing challenges that are unique to managing this patient population effectively. Documenting and evaluating these obstacles are critical steps to managing and caring for these individuals in the future. In order to improve uptake of HCV therapy in persons with HIV/HCV co-infection, it is essential that barriers, both new and ongoing, are addressed, otherwise, treatment is of little benefit.AIDS patient care and STDs 04/2014; DOI:10.1089/apc.2014.0033 · 2.68 Impact Factor