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Integrating enhanced hepatitis C testing and counselling in research.

Winter R, Nguyen O, Higgs P, Armstrong S, Duong D, Thach ML, Aitken C, Hellard M

  • Journal The International journal on drug policy

  • Published 20 Jun 2007

  • Volume 19

  • ISSUE 1

  • Pagination 66-70

  • DOI 10.1016/j.drugpo.2007.04.002


The hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects over 170 million people worldwide. In Australia, over 225,000 people have been diagnosed with HCV infection with 13,000 infections reported annually; 90% are attributed to injecting drug use. Burnet Institute (BI) researchers have been studying the HCV epidemic since the virus was identified in 1989 including community based cohort studies (1990-1995), numerous studies involving Vietnamese-Australian people who inject drugs (PWID) (1996-2004) and social network studies (2000-2002, 2005-2007). Through this work the BI has developed a model of research practice for HCV and PWID, developed in recognition that much research relating to BBV infections - and HCV in particular - could be improved in terms of provision of test results to study participants. Our model endeavours to provide all participants with the highest quality HCV test results, delivered in accordance with best practice for pre- and post-test counselling by engaging participants in environments in which they are comfortable, building trust and rapport and being available throughout and beyond the research study. This paper will discuss the benefits and lessons learned over numerous studies in providing pre- and post-test counselling to PWID in an outreach capacity.