Hepatitis C Initiative
HEP C Initiative
ISPUP; Centre for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research (CIAR), University of Hamburg, Germany
Viral hepatitis affects more than half a billion people worldwide and is a major public health problem in Europe, where it disproportionately affects injecting drug users. On average, 60% of injecting drug users (IDUs) are estimated to have hepatitis C, and in several countries the vast majority, over 90% of people who inject drugs (PWID), are believed to be living with hepatitis C.
The project brings together more than 30 organisations networks, grass root organisations, NGO\'s, health institutes and universities all of them working in the field of infection deseases. The aim of the project is, to contribute to the improvement of knowledge and capacities and to create synergy in order to rise awareness on the issue. A resource centre on hepatitis C and drug use materials will synthesise the results of project activities.
In particular, we will work on the following action points:Need for action on the practical level: Evidence shows, that testing for HCV and referral to HCV treatment are -among others - key interventions for the prevention of hepatitis. There is a need to improve a pragmatic prevention approach in services frequented by active drug users and to analyse barriers and obstacles to treatment uptake.Need to review and summarise current evidence and knowledge: The literature on HCV issues, including epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, prevention programmes, screening programmes and societal attitudes varies considerably and is not always easily accessible for stakeholders in the field.Need for peer involvement and peer training : Peer involvement at an early stage has the potential to prevent new infections, promote testing for those who have been exposed to risks, and support and inform people for whom treatment is an option. Capacity building and training is a crucial pre-requisite for effective peer involvement activities.Need for political leadership : Although the great majority of governments in Europe is aware of the alarming data in regard to hepatitis C, policy responses to the epidemic and to the needs for interventions in the field of prevention, diagnosis, care and treatment, are insufficient.