The national workshop "To the treatment – the possibility of HIV, HCV and TBC treatment of intravenous drug users" was part of the HA-REACT Joint Action work package 7. This workshop took place on April 23 and 24, 2018, in Budapest, Hungary.
HIV/HBV/HCV national prevalence studies have been conducted since 2006 among intravenous drug users in Hungary. HCV prevalence was doubled between 2011 and 2014 in this population due to change of risk behaviors and injection of new psychoactive substances. The increase in HCV prevalence coincided with decreasing harm reduction efforts, however the number of clients living with HIV remained low in the last 12 years. Experiences from prevalence studies showed, that very few clients received hepatitis C treatment after screening in interferon era for several reasons. Heavy side effects of the treatment, lack of health insurance, and the expected drug abstinence resulted only a 3-5 treatment course of a year.
Now some gaps are likely to narrow, as oral rapid tests and the new hepatitis C treatment are available, and local authorities can pay health insurance on behalf of a client. A valid health insurance can cover the fee of the hepatitis C treatment in Hungary. Nevertheless, the scientific achievements in terms of the new treatment and the oral test, the compliance of clients is still questionable. A client based approach is under investigation, how clients can be lead through the procedure from screening to successful treatment. The discussion during the workshop led to the identification of some key suggestions:
- to develop a protocol to identify basic steps in accompany clients from low threshold services to treatment
- to involve peer educators in NGOs and share updated information about treatment possibilities
- involve and improve collaboration with health care providers