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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

NYU: Barriers and Facilitators to Eliminating Hepatitis C in the Republic of Georgia

A new study co-authored by Dr. Danielle Ompad, associate professor of epidemiology with New York University College of Global Public Health (NYU GPH), Dr. Holly Hagan and Dr. Nancy Van Devanter, colleagues from the NYU GPH Center for Drug Use and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/hepatitis C virus (HCV) Research, was published in PLOS One titled “On the way to Hepatitis C elimination in the Republic of Georgia – Barriers and facilitators for people who inject drugs for engaging in the treatment program: A formative qualitative study.”

Georgia is among the countries with a high burden of HCV infection. Among those in Georgia, people who inject drugs (PWID) have the highest burden. In 2015, the Government of Georgia, with partners’ support, initiated one of the world’s first Hepatitis C Elimination Programs. Despite notable progress, challenges to achieving targets persist. This qualitative study is aimed to better understand some of the barriers and facilitators to HCV testing and treatment services for PWID to inform HCV treatment policies and practices. The study instrument examined social, structural, and individual factors influencing HCV testing and treatment practices. The results found that along with structural factors such as political commitment, co-financing of diagnostic and monitoring tests, and friendly clinic environments, knowledge about HCV infection and elimination program benefits, and support from family and peers also play facilitating roles in accessing testing and treatment services. On the other hand, inability to co-pay for diagnostic tests, fear of side effects associated with treatment, poor knowledge about HCV infection, and lack of social support hampered testing and treatment practices among PWID.

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