In Vietnam, despite high medication for opioid use disorders coverage (30–40%) and low rates of needle and syringe sharing (<5%) due to easy access to sterile equipment, recent data report high levels of HCV seroprevalence (>70%) and incidence (19/100 person-years) among people who inject drugs (PWID).
This alarming situation calls for an urgent need of additional strategies to reduce the burden of HCV among PWID in low- and middle-income countries. Although direct acting antivirals are technically speaking available in the country, they remain inaccessible to PWID due to their high cost. The government has recently introduced the partial reimbursement (50%) of HCV treatment in the national health insurance scheme, which has not increased their accessibility for PWID.
In a view of HCV elimination, a study published in The Lancet Regional Health – Western Pacific assessed the efficiency of a community-based strategy aiming at screening and treating hepatitis C, and preventing HCV reinfection among PWID in Vietnam. The strategy consists of a community-based respondent-driven sampling as wide screening, a simplified and integrated hospital-based care, and prevention of reinfection supported by community-based organisations in Hai Phong, Vietnam.
Full study results can be accessed here.