Individual and network factors associated with HCV treatment uptake among people who inject drugs

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Abstract

Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment uptake among people who inject drugs (PWID), a population with disproportionately high rates of HCV, remains low. Peers have been shown to positively impact a broad range of health outcomes for PWID. There is, however, limited data on the impact of PWID social network members on HCV treatment. Methods: HCV-infected PWID enrolled in an ongoing community-based cohort were recruited as “indexes” to complete an egocentric social network survey. The survey elicited from the index PWID a list of their network members and the index's perception of network member characteristics. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to compare individual and network factors associated with HCV treatment in the index PWID. Results: Among 540 HCV-infected PWID, the mean age was 55.7 years and the majority were black (87.2%) and male (69.8%). PWID reported a mean of 4.4 (standard deviation [SD] 3.2) network members, most of whom were relatives (mean 2.2 [SD 1.5]). In multivariable analysis, increasing index age and HIV infection were positively associated with HCV treatment, while drug use and homelessness in the preceding 6 months were negatively associated with HCV treatment. From a network perspective, having at least one network member who regularly talked with the index about seeing their doctor for HIV care was associated with HCV treatment (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 2.7; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) [1.3, 5.6]). Conversely, PWID who had at least one network member who helped them understand their HCV care were less likely to have been HCV treated (AOR 0.2; CI [0.1, 0.6). Conclusion: HCV treatment uptake in this group of PWID appeared to be positively influenced by discussions with network members living with HIV who were in care and negatively influenced by HCV information sharing within PWID networks. These findings underscore the influence of peers on health seeking behaviors of their network members and emphasizes the importance of well-informed peers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102714
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume78
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2020

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Keywords

  • Barriers
  • Facilitators
  • Hepatitis C
  • Informational support
  • People who inject drugs
  • Social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

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