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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 27, Issue 4, Pages 217-223
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/515636
Original Article

Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C Infection among Current And Former Injection Drug Users within a Multidisciplinary Treatment Model at a Community Health Centre

Adam I Newman,1,2 Shelley Beckstead,1 David Beking,3 Susan Finch,1,4 Tina Knorr,1 Carol Lynch,1 Meredith MacKenzie,1,2 Daphne Mayer,1 Brenda Melles,1 and Ron Shore1

1Street Health Centre, Kingston Community Health Centres, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
2Department of Family and Community Medicine, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
3Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
4Department of Psychiatry, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada

Received 2 July 2012; Accepted 8 September 2012

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The aim of the present prospective observational study was to assess uptake and success of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment among a group of former and current injection drug users with chronic HCV infection at the Street Health Centre in Kingston, Ontario. The Street Health Centre offers hepatitis C education, assessment and treatment within a multidisciplinary, integrated and collaborative treatment model of care delivered by primary care professionals. The study enrolled a convenience sample of 34 patients. Seventy per cent of study patients had no postsecondary education, 85% were unemployed and one-third were unstably housed. A majority of study patients self-reported mental health problems. Of the 14 patients who initiated antiviral treatment in the study period, eight (57%) achieved sustained virological response. Regardless of virological outcome, patients who initiated treatment showed positive trends toward increased social and psychiatric stability, and decreases in high-risk behaviours. These results suggest that not only is successful treatment of chronic HCV infection in current and former injection drug users with concurrent psychiatric disorders possible, but the benefits of such treatment delivered in a community-based, multidisciplinary, primary care model may extend beyond narrowly defined virological outcomes.