Accessible care beyond HCV
The coauthors of an accompanying editor’s note point out that the treatment for HCV has improved substantially, but it can be a real challenge to provide treatment to injection drug users because the U.S. health care system is not oriented toward the needs of this population.
“It is not surprising that the accessible care arm achieved a higher rate of viral eradication, as it created a patient-focused experience,” write Asha Choudhury, MD, MPH, with the University of California, San Francisco, and Mitchell Katz, MD, with NYC Health and Hospitals. “Creating inviting and engaging environments is particularly important when caring for patients from stigmatized groups. Having more sites that are accessible and inclusive like this for treating patients will likely increase treatment of hepatitis C.”
In their view, the study raises “two dueling questions: Is this model replicable across the U.S.? And, conversely, why isn’t all medical care offered in friendly, nonjudgmental settings with the intention of meeting patient goals?”
They conclude that the study’s lessons extend beyond this particular population and have implications for the field at large.
“The model is replicable to the extent that health care systems are prepared to provide nonjudgmental supportive care for persons who inject drugs,” they write. “However, all patients would benefit from a health care system that provided more patient-centered environments.”
The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr. Eckhardt reports receiving grants from the National Institutes of Health and Gilead during the conduct of the study. Dr. Choudhury, Dr. Katz, and Dr. Reau report no relevant financial relationships.
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