Research Projects


Hep C Connect: Innovative health services to optimize care and treatment for under-served patients

Status: Active

Project Lead: Kate Salters

Other: Rolando Barrios, Scott Emerson, Marianne Harris, Lindsay K Hedden, Mark W Hull, Ronald S Joe, Julio S Montaner, Gabriela Sincraian, Meaghan A Thumath

In Canada, current treatments for hepatitis C virus (HCV) are not only very well tolerated oral medications, but lead to actually curing HCV over 95% of patients in just 12 weeks. In British Columbia (BC), the Ministry of Health made these treatments free-of-charge in 2018 for anyone living with HCV, regardless of how long they have had the virus. Unfortunately, a large proportion of people with HCV, such as people who use drugs, continue to go unattached to health care and their HCV remains untreated. In collaboration with local and national decision makers and clinical leaders, we will test and evaluate new and creative ways to better support under-treated and unattached people living with HCV. Our specific research aims are to: 1) to describe primary and community-based care engagement among a cohort of people who use drugs and assess the impact of this on HCV treatment uptake; 2) to characterize community-based healthcare utilization and experiences among a cohort of people who use drugs; and 3) to evaluate a nurse- and peer-led HCV testing and education intervention embedded within a community-based harm reduction facility. In order to do this, we will use routinely collected health data in order to look at the service and system gaps that may be leading to people who use drugs being under-treated for HCV. We will also evaluate the impact of a new low-barrier HCV testing and linkage-to-care intervention located within supervised consumption sites (a site where individuals can access harm reduction supplies and supervised drug consumption services). Our proposed intervention offers opportunities for linkage-to-care and pathways to treatment for clients who lack access to primary care. We will assess HCV outcomes (diagnosis, attachment to primary care, and treatment uptake) among this population over time and assess patient-reported barriers and outcomes.