Knowledge of Hepatitis C and Treatment Willingness Amongst People Who Inject Drugs in an Era of Direct Acting Antivirals

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Mah A, Hull M, DeBeck K, Milloy M-J, Dobrer S, Nosova E, Wood E, Kerr T, Hayashi K (2017). Knowledge of hepatitis C and treatment willingness amongst people who inject drugs in an era of direct acting antivirals. The International Journal of Drug Policy

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Hepatitis c

Background: Knowledge of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is believed to be important in altering risk behaviour, improving engagement in care, and promoting willingness to initiate HCV treatment. We assessed factors associated with HCV knowledge and treatment willingness amongst people who inject drugs (PWID) in an era of direct acting antivirals.

Methods: Data were derived from three prospective cohort studies of PWID in Vancouver, Canada, between June 2014 and May 2015. HCV knowledge and treatment willingness were assessed using a Likert scale. Multivariable linear regression identified factors associated with higher HCV knowledge and treatment willingness.

Results: Amongst 630 participants, mean scores for HCV knowledge and treatment willingness were 25.41 (standard deviation [SD]: 2.52) out of 30, and 6.83 (SD: 1.83) out of 10, respectively. In multivariable analyses, Caucasian ancestry (adjusted linear regression model estimate [β] 0.50; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.17, 0.82), employment (β 0.76; 95% CI: 0.38, 1.13), diagnosed mental health disorder (β 0.44; 95% CI: 0.11, 0.78) and previous HCV treatment (β 0.94; 95% CI: 0.46, 1.43) were independently associated with higher knowledge. Downtown Eastside (DTES) residence (i.e., epicenter of Vancouver’s drug scene) was independently associated with lower knowledge (β -0.48; 95% CI: -0.81, -0.15). Greater HCV knowledge (β 0.12; 95% CI: 0.07, 0.17) was independently associated with higher HCV treatment willingness. DTES residence (β -0.31; 95% CI: -0.56, -0.06) and daily crack cocaine smoking (β -0.52; 95% CI: -0.92, -0.13) were independently associated with lower treatment willingness.

Conclusion: Socioeconomic factors, such as neighborhood residence and employment, were associated with HCV knowledge. Higher HCV knowledge was associated with more HCV treatment willingness. Our findings suggest that increasing HCV knowledge amongst PWID may be an integral component of the HCV cascade of care and that efforts might be best targeted to individuals with greater socioeconomic disadvantage.


The fulltext of this paper will be available in March 2018 due to the embargo policies of The International Journal of Drug Policy for works funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Contact to enquire if the full text of the accepted manuscript can be made available to you.

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Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR)