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Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM
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Hepatitis C Prevention - testimony to IOM

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Presentation by Daniel Raymond, the Harm Reduction Coalition's Policy Director, to the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis Infections on March 3, 2009.

Presentation by Daniel Raymond, the Harm Reduction Coalition's Policy Director, to the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis Infections on March 3, 2009.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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  • 1. Hepatitis C Prevention Daniel Raymond Policy Director Harm Reduction Coalition
  • 2. Challenges in preventing HCV among injection drug users (IDUs) <ul><li>HCV is more infectious than HIV </li></ul><ul><li>HCV is more prevalent among IDUs </li></ul><ul><li>Greater transmission risk linked to sharing drugs & paraphernalia (e.g. cookers, cotton) </li></ul><ul><li>Weaker cultural norms around HCV prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of vaccine, behavioral interventions </li></ul>
  • 3. Reasons for pessimism <ul><li>Annual incidence among IDUs ranges from 10% to >40% </li></ul><ul><li>Even countries that have successfully contained HIV epidemics among IDUs have not controlled HCV transmission </li></ul><ul><li>Observed spikes in incidence rates despite established harm reduction in London, Australia </li></ul>
  • 4. Reasons for (cautious) optimism <ul><li>Epidemiologic data suggests declining HCV prevalence among IDUs in U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Wider “window of opportunity” for preventing HCV among new/young IDUs: Median 3.4 years from initiating injecting to HCV seroconversion </li></ul><ul><li>Foundation of progress in structural, cultural, behavioral changes reducing HIV risk </li></ul>
  • 5. Key questions <ul><li>Syringe access </li></ul><ul><li>HCV antibody testing </li></ul><ul><li>Risk reduction education and counseling </li></ul><ul><li>Treatment of acute & chronic infection </li></ul>
  • 6. Syringe access <ul><li>Correlated with lower/declining HCV prevalence at population level </li></ul><ul><li>No clear evidence of protection against transmission at individual level </li></ul><ul><li>Developing body of research examining necessary coverage levels </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits of syringe exchange in U.S. hampered by federal funding ban, legal/political constraints </li></ul>
  • 7. HCV antibody testing <ul><li>Knowledge of negative HCV antibody status may promote risk reduction </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of positive HCV antibody status has no demonstrated effect on risk practices </li></ul><ul><li>Indications of HIV status-informed norms & approaches to risk management & “strategic” sharing do not extend to HCV </li></ul>
  • 8. Challenges in HCV testing <ul><li>Making test results clear and meaningful </li></ul><ul><li>Linking people receiving positive HCV antibody test results to HCV RNA testing to diagnose chronic vs. cleared infection </li></ul><ul><li>Preparing for introduction of rapid oral HCV antibody test </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding disclosure norms & strategies among IDU networks </li></ul>
  • 9. Risk reduction education and counseling <ul><li>Substantial literature documenting interventions that significantly reduce injection-related risks </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of clarity on what degree of reduction of which injection-related risks is necessary for effective HCV prevention </li></ul><ul><li>DUIT: greater decline in risk vs. control, but no difference in HCV incidence </li></ul>
  • 10. Treatment of acute & chronic infections <ul><li>IDUs can achieve comparable SVR rates </li></ul><ul><li>New HCV treatments (e.g. protease inhibitors) may shorten treatment and increase efficacy </li></ul><ul><li>Early detection and treatment of acute infection yields very high SVR rates and may interruption chains of transmission during periods of high infectiousness </li></ul><ul><li>Reinfection after SVR has been documented among some treated IDUs </li></ul>
  • 11. Lessons <ul><li>Syringe access, knowledge of HCV status, and current levels of risk reduction are necessary but not sufficient: expand and intensify </li></ul><ul><li>Treatment will most likely have an indirect effect on HCV prevention by increasing IDU attention to risk and status rather than reducing the pool of HCV-infected IDUs </li></ul>
  • 12. Future directions <ul><li>Develop messages, norms, and interventions to address contextual risks (environmental, social network) and individualized prevention strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Craft social marketing and community mobilization campaigns to establish HCV as a priority for IDUs </li></ul><ul><li>Support research on new interventions powered to demonstrate changes in incidence </li></ul>
  • 13. Recommendations <ul><li>Expand syringe access by removing legal barriers to syringe exchange & pharmacy sale and restrictions on federal funding </li></ul><ul><li>Intensify research into new prevention interventions </li></ul><ul><li>Improve HCV testing through strengthening counseling messages, linking antibody testing to RNA testing </li></ul>
  • 14. Additional priorities for IDUs <ul><li>Develop strategies for early detection and treatment of acute infection among young & new injectors </li></ul><ul><li>Increase the capacity to manage and treat HCV among current and former injectors and reduce barriers to care </li></ul>
  • 15. Additional HCV prevention considerations <ul><li>Other groups and settings warranting special concern include: </li></ul><ul><li>Transmission via non-injection drug use (smoking, sniffing/snorting) </li></ul><ul><li>Transmission in jails and prisons </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual transmission among HIV+ MSM </li></ul>

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