Uptake Of Treatment For Hepatitis C Infection In People Who Inject Drugs: The Link Study

Author: Bielen R, Arain A, Busschots D, Koc ÖM, Nevens F, Trabert C, Werenne J, Leonardy N, Mulkay JP, Bourgeois S, Matheï C, Robaeys G

Theme: Clinical Research Year: 2018

Background: Treating people who inject drugs (PWID) for a chronic hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection is a necessity in order to reach the 2030 targets of the World Health Organization. Nevertheless, treatment uptake is low in PWID. We studied the factors influencing treatment uptake in PWID in Belgium. Methods: We performed a prospective, multi-center observational study. Between June 2012 and November 2016, clients were enrolled in 7 opiate agonist treatment (OAT) centres in Belgium. A questionnaire was performed at inclusion, after one and two years. Follow-up was ceased after two years, or earlier if a client was treated for HCV infection. Factors influencing treatment uptake (p700 euro/month: OR 5.47 (1.36-21.95)), treatment willingness (OR 13.77 (1.34-141.34)), investigation by liver biopsy or fibroscan allready performed (OR 11.21 (4.56- 27.60) and 3.94 (1.51-10.27) respectively), and if they were referred by the center to a hospital (OR 2.96 (0.99-8.88)). Conclusion: Treatment uptake was low in this well defined group of PWID on OAT. Differences in treatment uptake were due to factors influenced by linkage to care (treatment willingness, further investigation and referral) and less by social factors (active drug use, social functioning). To increase the uptake of treatment, actions influencing linkage to care should be undertaken. Disclosure of interest statement: This project has been made possible thanks to a pharmaceutical grant by MSD®, enregistered R-3800 at Hasselt University. Dr. Rob Bielen has received travel grants from Abbvie®, MSD® and Gilead® to attend scientific congresses. Prof. dr. Frederik Nevens has received multiple research grants, has received consultancy agreements and has received travel grants from UCB®, Ipsen®, Roche®, Astellas®, Ferring®, Novartis®, Janssen-Cilag®, Abbvie®, Gilead®, CAF®, Intercept®, Gore®, BMS®, MSD®, Promethera Biosciences®, Ono Pharma®, Durect®. Dr. Stefan Bourgeois has acted as a consultant/advisor and received speakers fees from AbbVie, MSD, BMS, Gilead and J&J. Prof. dr. Geert Robaeys has received research grants from Merck Sharp & Dohme®, AbbVie®, Janssen Pharmaceuticals®, and has acted as a consultant/advisor and for Gilead Sciences®, Abbvie®, Merck Sharp & Dohme®, and Bristol Myers-Squibb®. The other authors have nothing to disclose.

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