How can general practitioners support people who inject drugs to engage with direct-acting antiviral treatment for hepatitis C? A qualitative study

Emma Heard, Andrew Smirnov, Luciana Massi, Linda A. Selvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and objectives: General practitioners (GPs) have an important role to play in increasing direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) among people who inject drugs (PWID). A stronger understanding of how GPs can support this group in the uptake and completion of DAA treatment is required. 

Method: A purposive sample of 27 patients (nine women and 18 men) with a history of HCV participated in semi-structured interviews capturing perspectives about the role of GPs in facilitating and supporting DAA treatment. Thematic analysis focused specifically on experiences of accessing treatment while continuing injecting drug use and how GPs can support uptake in PWID. 

Results: GPs need to prioritise and initiate discussions about HCV treatment with PWID. It is important that GPs provide clear and consistent information about the treatment journey; address myths of ineligibility and feelings of guilt and apathy towards treatment; and facilitate blood sampling, particularly for those with difficult venous access. 

Discussion: This study contributes to HCV prevention and treatment literature by providing insights into practical ways GPs can encourage uptake and completion of treatment with PWID.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-721
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian journal of general practice
Volume50
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

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