More than three percent of the world’s population is infected with hepatitis C (HCV) and an estimated 130 million have developed chronic HCV infection. Yet, less than 30 percent of those with HCV initiate therapy, and an even smaller number of patients in drug use recovery do so, though they are most at risk of HCV infection.
To understand why people in methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) programs with HCV – an estimated 300,000 people – do not seek treatment, researchers from Temple University College of Public Health will spent the next 2 years testing different interventions to increase treatment rates.
Principal Investigator on the study Dr. Sarah Bauerle Bass, associate professor and director of the Risk Communication Laboratory, will systematically develop a treatment initiation intervention using contextually-relevant messages through a mobile application developed for Philadelphia MMT clients using novel marketing research evaluation methods, perceptual mapping and vector modeling. The intervention will use these marketing methods to model perceptions of HCV treatment barriers and test the mobile application in three methadone centers to assess promise of efficacy.
The study is funded by Gilead Pharmaceuticals.