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Int J Drug Policy. 2017 Sep;47:51-60. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.05.019. Epub 2017 Jul 3.

Research priorities to achieve universal access to hepatitis C prevention, management and direct-acting antiviral treatment among people who inject drugs.

Author information

The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Electronic address:
CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM), Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada; Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
CHIP, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal), Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway; University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Arud Centres of Addiction Medicine, Zurich, Switzerland.
Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
School of Social & Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
Disease Elimination Program, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
Médecins sans Frontières, Geneva, Switzerland.
Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine, Sydney, Australia.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway; Institute for Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway; Department of Gastroenterology, Oslo University Hospital, Norway.
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Australia, Sydney, Australia.
University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland; Abdominal Center, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League, Canberra, Australia.
Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, United Kingdom.
Toronto Centre for Liver Disease, Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
The Liver Unit, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom.
School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, United Kingdom; Health Protection Scotland, Glasgow, United Kingdom.
The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Centre for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Ziekenhuis Oost Limburg, Genk, Belgium; Department of Hepatology, UZ Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Hasselt University, Hasselt, Belgium.
Institute of Neuropsychiatry & Addictions-Hospital del Mar, IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Spectrum CIC, Wakefield, United Kingdom.
Santa Chiara University Hospital, University of Pisa, Italy.
Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York, United States.


Globally, it is estimated that 71.1 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, including an estimated 7.5 million people who have recently injected drugs (PWID). There is an additional large, but unquantified, burden among those PWID who have ceased injecting. The incidence of HCV infection among current PWID also remains high in many settings. Morbidity and mortality due to liver disease among PWID with HCV infection continues to increase, despite the advent of well-tolerated, simple interferon-free direct-acting antiviral (DAA) HCV regimens with cure rates >95%. As a result of this important clinical breakthrough, there is potential to reverse the rising burden of advanced liver disease with increased treatment and strive for HCV elimination among PWID. Unfortunately, there are many gaps in knowledge that represent barriers to effective prevention and management of HCV among PWID. The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney and the International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) established an expert round table panel to assess current research gaps and establish future research priorities for the prevention and management of HCV among PWID. This round table consisted of a one-day workshop held on 6 September, 2016, in Oslo, Norway, prior to the International Symposium on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU 2016). International experts in drug and alcohol, infectious diseases, and hepatology were brought together to discuss the available scientific evidence, gaps in research, and develop research priorities. Topics for discussion included the epidemiology of injecting drug use, HCV, and HIV among PWID, HCV prevention, HCV testing, linkage to HCV care and treatment, DAA treatment for HCV infection, and reinfection following successful treatment. This paper highlights the outcomes of the roundtable discussion focused on future research priorities for enhancing HCV prevention, testing, linkage to care and DAA treatment for PWID as we strive for global elimination of HCV infection.


DAA; Drug users; HCV; IFN-free; Injecting; PWID

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