HCV Capacity Building Trainings for Harm Reduction and Peer Workers

Author: Jason Farrell

Theme: Social Science & Policy Research Year: 2016


Jason Farrell, Correlation Network

Background: As new direct acting anti-retroviral (DAA) HCV treatments become increasingly available throughout Europe, it is critically important that comprehensive integrated prevention services are in place to connect people who inject drugs (PWID) to treatment, and minimise risk behaviours that can result in re-infection post treatment.

Methods: The Correlation Network’s EU Hepatitis C and Drug Use Initiative developed capacity building trainings to assist harm reduction programs become capable to offer co-located integrated comprehensive HCV prevention and treatment support services targeting PWID. During the months of December 2015 and January 2016 capacity building trainings were conducted in five European countries, Italy, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Norway.

Organisations chosen were based upon an eligibility criteria looking at capacity of the organisation; willingness to implement and/or enhance HCV services; have dedicated peer workers or staff to provide HCV services; have linkage with medical facilities for testing and treatment; and organisation is in a country with high prevalence among PWID

Results: Post training evaluation showed 85% reporting the training provided information that was direly needed, and 75% found training time appropriate. 60% who participated in the trainings reported not having formal harm reduction risk counselling training, safer injection training, or knowledge of HCV prevention needs for PWID. The three most important modules documented were 67% transmission risks for PWID; 59% other risks of HCV transmission; and 56% safer injection information.

Conclusion: We have seen a growing clinical care model of providing harm reduction services create an inability to engage PWID in user friendly behavioural outcome focused discussions to prevent HCV. Despite the gaps in knowledge and skills, there was an overwhelming willingness to adapt and integrate science based behavioural interventions, rapid testing and Fibroscan screenings. Making this training critically important for providing effective HCV services

Download abstract Download poster