Seek And Treat; A Dublin Community Based Peer Facilitated Screening Project

Author: Perry N, Murphy L, McClean K, Lambert JS, McHugh T, Mantoy-Mead P, Walsh J

Theme: Models of Care Year: 2018

Background: In line with the goal of elimination as set out in our National Hepatitis C Strategy to eliminate HCV by 2030, the following initiative seeks to proactively locate the individuals affected by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) living in our community with a view to engaging them in care and curative treatment. Community Response in partnership with the Coolmine Therapeutic Community, Chrysalis Community Drug project and the HepCare Europe Team at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and as an extension of the successful HepFriend peer support programme are proactively seeking to locate the hidden population and those previously lost to follow up by assertive community engagement. Approach: This project, aims to overcome barriers to treatment by testing across six community based projects. At dedicated sessions ‘at risk’ groups will be offered up to date information with respect to transmission, testing and treatment of HCV. This novel initiative is intended to be peer led with educational components being designed and delivered by individuals with a lived experience of HCV. Oral swab testing and transient elastography will also be offered and as well as peer supported referrals and escorts to treatment. The Infectious Disease Clinic at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital has increased capacity for clinical appointments to ensure that individuals can be seen and assessed for treatment in a timely fashion. Outcome: The peer led focus of this project is thought to be the first step needed to overcome barriers to treatment. Conclusion: Clients will be offered a direct and clear pathway to diagnosis and treatment, with agencies and key clinical staff working in close partnership to provide integrated care and support. This project seeks to ensure that those living in the community have the opportunity to avail of the curative treatment available to all individuals affected by HCV in our community. Disclosure of Interest Statement: HepCare Europe is funded through the European Union with partial funding received from the Health Services Executive. Dr John S Lambert has also received unrestricted grants from the Pharmaceutical Industry to support his research work.

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