The burden of HCV is concentrated among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Europe, with HCV antibody prevalence ranging from 20% to over 90% in different countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified people who inject drugs as a key target group for HCV prevention and treatment. In spite of European guidelines recommending treatment access people who use drugs still face considerable barriers, and are frequently denied access to newly approved HCV treatment regimens. Public awareness, surveillance systems, availability of HCV prevention and harm reduction based interventions remain inconsistent throughout Europe. Where the HIV/AIDS movement contributed immensely to the successful combat against HIV in many parts of the world, the HCV community and affected populations are still in preliminary stages. The Hepatitis and drug Initiative contributes towards building a similar response to addressing the HCV issues we are currently facing.
No new cases of hepatitis C and all those in need treated; towards a world in which individuals who are most affected by HCV benefit from comprehensive health coverage, human rights and a supportive policy and legal environment.
The European Hepatitis C Initiative works to reduce the burden of HCV among people who use drugs by promoting universal access to HCV prevention, treatment and care through collaborative action of research, advocacy and civil society strengthening.
The Hep C Initiative aims to enhance the momentum of current HCV treatment opportunities and strives for universal access to essential HCV prevention and treatment for the most affected and under-served communities: people who use drugs. The Initiative aims to enhance awareness and action among all stakeholders. It will enhance knowledge sharing regarding hepatitis C current policies and practice; improve the capacities and knowledge of recent HCV developments among professionals and target group representatives in harm reduction services and NGOs working the field of HCV prevention, counselling, testing and treatment, specifically targeting drug users and to influence HCV policies on the national and European level.