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The acceptability and feasibility of peer worker support role in community based HCV treatment for injecting drug users.

Norman J, Walsh NM, Mugavin J, Stoové MA, Kelsall J, Austin K, Lintzeris N

  • Journal Harm reduction journal

  • Published 25 Feb 2008

  • Volume 5

  • Pagination 8

  • DOI 10.1186/1477-7517-5-8


Hepatitis C is the most common blood borne virus in Australia affecting over 200 000 people. Effective treatment for hepatitis C has only become accessible in Australia since the late 1990's, although active injecting drug use (IDU) remained an exclusion criteria for government-funded treatment until 2001. Treatment uptake has been slow, particularly among injecting drug users, the largest affected group. We developed a peer-based integrated model of hepatitis C care at a community drug and alcohol clinic. Clients interested and eligible for hepatitis C treatment had their substance use, mental health and other psychosocial comorbidities co-managed onsite at the clinic prior to and during treatment. In a qualitative preliminary evaluation of the project, nine current patients of the clinic were interviewed, as was the clinic peer worker. A high level of patient acceptability of the peer-based model and an endorsement the integrated model of care was found. This paper describes the acceptability of a peer-based integrated model of hepatitis C care by the clients using the service.