European Commission supports Harm Reduction for PWID. Does Your Country?
By Jeffrey Lazarus, #HAREACT
We know what works. Opioid substitution therapy in prisons, safe needles in the streets, direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) for anyone who’s infected. No, what we need to eliminate hepatitis C isn’t more interventions. What we need is the political will to implement what works.
What we need to eliminate hepatitis C isn’t more interventions. What we need is the political will to implement what works
Alas, it seems like it’d be easier to develop a new vaccine than to develop a political spine, but it does happen. I was reminded of that recently in Bucharest, at the 4th European Harm Reduction Conference. During the closing session, I listened to Portugal’s shadow minister of health, Ricardo Baptista Leite, tell a story I never tire of hearing – how the Portuguese government dramatically reversed the spread of two deadly diseases. First, they did it with HIV, by decriminalising drugs and embracing harm reduction, and now they’re doing it with HCV, by making DAAs freely available to everyone. In just three years, they’ve already cured one third of the population with chronic hepatitis C, saving more than 60 000 life-years and €270 million in the cost of treating complications."