Increasing access to Hepatitis C treatment
People who are, or have been homeless, have a much higher chance of being impacted by Hepatitis C. Risk factors associated with homelessness such as history of injecting drugs are often cited as reasons for this disparity, combined with a chaotic and unstable lifestyle restricting their understanding of and access to health services.
Groundswell’s Peer Caseworker John (pictured) works with the Find and Treat University College London Hospital team to identify and screen patients for Hepatitis C. With the support of our peer advocates they visit homeless hostels and day centres to raise awareness of Hepatitis C and its risk factors, and encourage more people to be screened for the virus. John supports all patients who test positive for the Hepatitis C virus to engage with the treatment; this might be booking appointments, paying for their travel or physically helping them get to the hospital and staying with them during the treatment to reduce anxieties.
The ultimate goal of this project is that more people who have Hepatitis C will be given the support and confidence to access treatment, leading to more negative diagnoses.
If you are interesting in setting up or commissioning a similar service in your area to help homeless people access and complete treatment for Hepatitis C, we would love to help. Find out more here.
The Hepatitis C HHPA project is supported through an educational grant by Gilead UK&I fellowship programme.