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ID: 675

Type of submission: Oral

Conference track: Research

Topics: Innovative Harm Reduction Programmes; Viral Hepatitis and Tuberculosis

Presenting author: Ghazaleh Kiani

Presenting author biography:

Ghazaleh Kiani has been recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree. After graduation, she has been working in the field of public health and health promotion at the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre. She has presented at various national and international conferences.


Ghazaleh Kiani, Rajvir Shahi, Arshia Alimohammadi, Tyler Raycraft, Arpreet Singh, Brian Conway

BAKCGROUND: Injection drug use is the major contributing factor for incident and prevalent Hepatitis C (HCV) infections in the developed world. The prevalence of HCV infection in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side (DTES), a population with a high incidence of injection drug use, may exceed 70%. However, relatively few individuals have been treated to date. We have developed a novel model of intervention, the Community Pop-up Clinics (CPC), as a harm reduction tool to enhance access to HCV therapy in this vulnerable population.

METHODS: Participants were recruited at weekly CPCs held at community centres. OraQuick® HCV and HIV Rapid Antibody point-of-care testing was offered. Participants identified as HCV positive were provided the opportunity to engage in multidisciplinary care at our centre. A questionnaire was administered to collect demographic information including HCV disease knowledge and desire to engage in care around it. A $10 incentive was granted for participation.

RESULTS: To date, a total of 1546 participants completed the questionnaire, with 649 (42%) self-identified as People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) (mean age 44.3 years, 78% male, 26.5% First Nations), with 145 (22.3%) reported to have shared needles and 226 (34.8%) shared other injection equipment. Among this population of PWID, 371 (57.2%) were infected with HCV, with 29 (7.8%) co-infected with HIV, 158 (24.3%) were subsequently linked to care, 26 (16.5%) received treatment for HCV infection, 20 (77%) completed treatment, with 16 (80%) achieving cure of their infection. Longer term follow-up on larger numbers of patients will be presented.

CONCLUSION: The CPC approach in a neighborhood with high prevalence of injection drug use and HCV infection has successfully identified over 300 HCV-infected PWID and engaged a significant proportion of them in care. Additional efforts must be undertaken in ensuring that engagement leads to enhanced access to curative HCV therapies in all eligible patients.