Our work with Addaction, supported by AbbVie, is about providing new interventions that can help people take that first step on the road to recovery.
Often the biggest challenge we face is that more than 50% of people who have hepatitis C are completely unaware of their condition,1 so we can’t rely on them going to their GP or sexual health clinic to get themselves tested. Instead, we have to take a different approach and ‘test & treat’ where it matters most.
This is where peer-led education with drug and alcohol charity, Addaction, has made a big difference. Peer educators have lived hepatitis C experience and can relate to what drug service users may be going through. Their advice and hands-on support can be the difference between someone going it alone and not sticking to a recovery plan, and someone getting the support they need with access to proper treatment.
Often it comes down to situations where getting clear of hepatitis C is just one step towards building self-esteem and getting back control over their lives. It is much easier to take advice from someone who has travelled that road and not only knows how hard it is, but can see past the barriers to getting support.
Already in South West England we have partnered with local health services to improve care pathways that ensure people with a history of drug misuse are tested and treated for hepatitis C in community settings that are much easier for them to access. This has increased the number of people being tested by 141 percent.