Research to improve people's health


A study led by IDIAPJGol warns that incarcerated individuals with hepatitis C have difficulties accessing treatment when they are released from prison

Research led by the investigator Elena Yela has gathered the testimonies of 33 inmates who have this disease and use intravenous drugs

1 Barriers to access to hepatitis C treatment

A study led by the investigator Elena Yela from the Institute of Primary Care Research Jordi Gol (IDIAPJGol) concludes that incarcerated individuals affected by hepatitis C have difficulties accessing antiviral treatment when they are released. The research, published in the Harm Reduction Journal, asserts that to improve the treatment of these individuals, it is necessary to promote integrated prevention and treatment strategies, such as implementing more flexible programs and improving health education.

This is a qualitative study that has gathered the testimonies of 33 people who use intravenous drugs and had been in prison. The interviewed individuals mention various barriers to accessing treatment, which are divided into three categories: personal barriers, barriers with providers, and barriers with the health system.

The personal barriers are mainly intensive drug use, lack of interest and knowledge about hepatitis C, and being in a situation of social exclusion.

The participants highlight that they receive little information, have difficulties accessing screening campaigns and treatments, and have had negative experiences with healthcare personnel. They also point out three issues related to the health system: the circuit is complicated, they receive little integrated care, and they have little community support.

The study recommends carrying out comprehensive interventions that combine the treatment of drug dependencies, multidisciplinary care, and addressing social needs to improve access to diagnosis and treatment. It also advises facilitating access to specialized health services and reducing the stigmatization and criminalization of people who use intravenous drugs through housing and harm reduction policies.


Study reference

Yela E, Solé N, Puig L, López Gallegos D, Clua-García R. Barriers to access to hepatitis C treatment with direct-acting antivirals in people who inject drugs in the community setting. Harm Reduct J. 2024 Apr 27;21(1):88. doi: 10.1186/s12954-024-01009-7. PMID: 38678266; PMCID: PMC11055286.


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