Hepatitis C virus prevention and care for drug injectors: the French approach

Publié le 5 Juin 2018
Mis à jour le 10 Septembre 2019

After France removed hepatitis C treatment reimbursement restrictions on 25 May 2016, an expert report presented recommendations, which focused on vulnerable groups including people who inject drugs (PWID). This commentary presents the key points of the chapter with a particular focus on policy. Thanks to the official lifting of restrictions based on disease stage and to the excellent efficacy and tolerance of the new DAA (Direct-Acting Antivirals) among PWID, the main issue is to improve the HCV care cascade. In France, many HCV-infected PWID, especially active/current PWID, remain undiagnosed and unlinked to care. Our challenge is to improve HCV screening by point of care testing (POCT), outreach methods with mobile teams, rapid tests, FibroScan, etc. and to provide PWID with appropriate services in all the settings they attend, such as drug treatment or harm reduction services, social services, prisons, etc. Another important issue is the prevention of reinfection through comprehensive and long-term follow-up. The report recommends a new national policy: testing and treating PWID as a priority, since this is the best way to eliminate HCV infection. It requires a global strategy consisting of combined and long-term interventions: prevention, outreach, screening, DAA, drug treatment programs including opiate substitution treatment (OST) and various harm reduction programs, including needle exchange programs (NEP). Ideally, these services should be delivered in the same place with an integrated approach. This should lead to meeting the national objective set by the government of eliminating hepatitis C by 2025.

Auteur : Delile Jean-Michel, de Ledinghen Victor, Jauffret-Roustide Marie, Roux Perrine, Reiller Brigitte, Foucher Juliette, Dhumeaux Daniel
Hepatology, and Policy Medicine, 2018, vol. 3, n°. 7, p. 1-9