EMCDDA Document library

Hepatitis C: new models of care for drugs services

Summary: 

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has a high prevalence in people who inject drugs (PWID) in Europe, although HCV infection is both preventable and curable. Effective interventions that target the prevention of HCV transmission and the treatment of hepatitis C are needed, particularly for so‐called ‘hard to reach’ and vulnerable populations. European clinical guidelines recommend that all patients with chronic liver disease as a result of HCV infection should be considered for therapy, regardless of disease stage. Furthermore, they recommend that treatment be provided to individuals at risk of transmitting the disease, including people currently injecting drugs.

The beneficial impact of hepatitis C treatment on the infected individual, and its indirect impact on reducing onward transmission in the community, make ‘testing and linkage to treatment’ a core component of the hepatitis C elimination strategy. The importance of targeting PWID as a key population for the elimination of hepatitis C in Europe and of promoting PWID’s access to testing and all other elements of the cascade of care is highlighted in European and national hepatitis C policies. The 11 case studies in this collection document how drug treatment and harm reduction service providers in eight countries are supporting PWID’s access to testing and treatment, using innovative and creative implementation practices and developing new models of care for this important target group. This publication provides key insights into the results, impact, sustainability and transferability of each practice to guide the implementation of these new models of care in othercountries and settings.