Enhancing the role of drug treatment services for HCV elimination among people who inject drugs
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all EU countries addresses communicable diseases as follows: “By 2030, end the epidemic of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases”. Contributing to this agenda, the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat has been defined as a goal in the first Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis (2016-2021).
Ongoing EMCDDA monitoring supports countries in documenting progress towards HCV elimination among people who inject drugs (PWID), who are a key affected population. To reach the elimination targets improving testing and linkage to care among PWID is central.
The current EMCDDA Strategy 2025 calls for the Centre to strengthen Member States’ capacity to implement evidence-based responses, including those aiming to reduce HCV prevalence among PWID. The new EMCDDA harm reduction initiative aims to operationalize the public health priorities of the agency by developing tools and materials for improving testing and linkage to HCV care for PWID taking into account national and regional contexts and settings.
To present the background, aim and results of the first phase of the EMCDDA harm reduction initiative with focus on HCV testing and linkage to care in drug treatment settings, leading to the development of new tools and materials for both policy and practice.
In the session, an overview of the conceptual model guiding the EMCDDA harm reduction initiative will be presented along with tools and materials developed and the implementation experiences. The new EMCDDA resources to support countries in the elimination of HCV among PWID will be launched during the session (Resources include: a Checklist for identifying barriers to HCV testing and linkage to care in drug treatment settings and its Manual as part of a diagnostic process that a country or a service could conduct; a compilation of models of care to promote access to HCV testing and care for PWID).