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

Author(s): Norman Josephine | Walsh Nick | Mugavin Janette | Stoové Mark | Kelsall Jenny | Austin Kirk | Lintzeris Nick

Journal: Harm Reduction Journal
ISSN 1477-7517

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 8;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Abstract 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.
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