C-Buddies: Challenges In The Comprehensive Approach Of Hepatitis C Management Among People Who Use Drugs

Author: Windelinckx T, Maertens G , Bourgeois S, Anton Van Dijck, Stefan Bratovanov, Tonny Van Montfoort, Werner De Keyser, Matheï C

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2017

In Antwerp Belgium we initiated a peer-driven project, called the C-Buddy project, operational from 2009 until 2011 and restarted in 2015. The aim of this project is to support hepatitis C positive PWID to link to care and to enter treatment applying an individually tailored approach and resting upon a close collaboration between hepatologists, a multidisciplinary, low-threshold drug care centre and needle exchange.

The C-Buddy project marks the commitment of PWID who completed HCV treatment. After recruitment and training, they provide a broad range of services ranging from education during the pre-therapy phase, over practical and mental support during therapy to aftercare under the supervision of professionals among which a dedicated hepatitis C nurse.

Results and Challenges
Since November 2015, the C-buddies connected with 96 PWID and linked them to care. 15 of them finalized hepatitis C treatment successfully and another 43 are awaiting therapy.
The new challenges we are facing are prevention of reinfection and (injecting) drug use during treatment. Also alcohol abuse before, during and after treatment poses a major challenge.
We will present our results, the challenges we are encountering and our ‘modus operandi’ by means of some case studies.

This abstract is part of the Correlation workshop on harm reduction and HCV

Learning aspects for scholarship application;
We will share and exchange experiences with other experts and adapt learning outcomes in our facility if possible.

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