Administering direct-acting antiviral therapy for people who inject drugs at a syringe exchange site led to high sustained response rates in a pilot study in New York City, researchers reported at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle. Expanding treatment for this population could reduce hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission and ultimately help eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat.
The advent of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) used in interferon-regimens has revolutionized treatment for chronic hepatitis C. Most people can now be cured with well-tolerated oral therapy given for 8 to 12 weeks. But the new therapies are not yet reaching everyone who could benefit, especially marginalized populations such as people who inject drugs.
Benjamin Eckhardt from New York University and colleagues evaluated clinical outcomes from a prospective pilot program offering hepatitis C treatment to active injection drug users at a needle and syringe service site.