Integration of hepatitis C treatment at harm reduction centers in Georgia—Findings from a patient satisfaction survey
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Integration of hepatitis C treatment at harm reduction centers in Georgia—Findings from a patient satisfaction survey

  • Published Date:

    July 31 2020

  • Source:
    Int J Drug Policy. 84:102893
  • Language:

Public Access Version Available on: October 01, 2021, 12:00 AM information icon
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  • Alternative Title:
    Int J Drug Policy
  • Description:
    Background Georgia launched national HCV elimination program in 2015. PWID may experience barriers to accessing HCV care. To improve linkage to care among PWID, pilot program to integrate HCV treatment with HR services at opiate substitution therapy (OST) centers and needle syringe program (NSP) sites was initiated. Our study aimed to assess satisfaction of patients with integrated HCV treatment services at HR centers. Methods Survey was conducted among convenience sample of patients receiving HCV treatment at 5 integrated care sites and 4 specialized clinics not providing HR services. Simplified pre-treatment diagnostic algorithm and treatment monitoring procedure was introduced for HCV treatment programs at OST/NSP centers which includes fewer pre-treatment and monitoring tests compared to standard algorithm. Results In total, 358 patients participated in the survey - 48.6% receiving HCV treatment at the specialized clinics while 51.4% at HR site with integrated treatment. Similar proportions of surveyed patients at HR sites (88.0%) and clinics (84.5%) stated that they did not face any barriers to enrollment in the elimination program. Most patients from HR pilot sites and specialized clinics stated that they received comprehensive information about the treatment (98.4% vs 94.3%; p<0.010). 95% of respondents at both sites were confident that confidentiality was completely protected during treatment. Higher proportion of patients at pilot sites thought that HCV treatment services provided at facility were good compared to those from the specialized clinics (85.3% vs 81.0%). We found significant difference in the time to treatment, measured as average time from viremia testing to administration of first dose of HCV medication: 42.9% of patients at pilot sites vs 4.6% at specialized clinics received the first dose of medication within two weeks. Conclusion Quality of services and perceived satisfaction of patients receiving treatment, suggests that integration of HCV treatment with HR services is feasible.
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