Background: Hepatitis C (HCV) infection is highly prevalent among people who inject drugs (PWID). Many PWID are unaware of their infection and few have received HCV treatment. Recent developments in treatment offer cure rates >90%. However, the potential of these treatments will only be realised if HCV identification among PWID with linkage to treatment is optimised. This paper describes the Hepcare Europe project, a collaboration between five institutions across four member states (Ireland, UK, Spain, Romania), to develop, implement and evaluate interventions to improve the identification, evaluation and treatment of HCV among PWID. Methods: A service innovation project and a mixed-methods, pre-post intervention study, Hepcare will design and deliver interventions in Dublin, London, Seville and Bucharest to enhance PWID engagement and retention in the cascade of HCV care. Results: The feasibility, acceptability, potential efficacy and cost-effectiveness of these interventions to improve care processes and outcomes among PWID will be evaluated. Conclusion: Hepcare has the potential to make an important impact on patient care for marginalised populations who might otherwise go undiagnosed and untreated. Lessons learned from the study can be incorporated into national and European guidelines and strategies for HCV.
- Hepatitis C
- linkage to care