This study in Europe projects that a combination of more opioid substitution therapy, syringe access programs and hepatitis C treatment can decrease hepatitis C prevalence. If such policies were applied to the US, we’d probably see even greater reductions.
Model projections of scaled-up opioid substitution therapy and needle and syringe programs in Europe demonstrated a potential reduction in hepatitis C prevalence of 18% to 79% and could reduce treatment scale-up need by 20% to 80%.
“Preventing HCV transmission among people who inject drugs (PWID) is critical for averting future liver disease in Europe and elsewhere and new HCV infections in this group,” Hannah Fraser, PhD, from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, and colleagues wrote. “Primary prevention through opioid substitution therapy (OST) and high-coverage needle and syringe programs (NSPs) can reduce HCV transmission among PWID and averts new HCV infections, but substantial reductions in HCV prevalence are unlikely to be achieved without scaling-up HCV treatment.”