Dr. Brian Conway (2020)
To make progress, we must address this hopelessness...I think one of the key interventions we have to design is the process of taking someone who is disengaged and engaging them in care for the things that are important to them… It isn’t as simple as writing a prescription for a certain number of pills over 8-12 week’s, it’s a process of long-term engagement and partnership.
Dr. Brian Conway is known world-wide for developing innovative HIV and HCV programs that integrate the medical, addiction, social, and psychological aspects of care for inner-city populations, in particular people who use or inject drugs. He is an infectious diseases specialist by training who has been committed to social justice since the early days of the HIV epidemic. In treating patients for infectious diseases, he has advocated that you must meet people where they are and also address their immediate non-medical needs, like stable housing nutritional assistance. In 2013, to ensure new HCV therapies were accessible to those living in community centers and shelters, he created an outreach initiative called the “community pop-up clinic” or CPC model. At community-based events, his group sets up a CPC to offer point-of-care testing for HCV and promote engagement in care.
Through this multi-disciplinary approach, Dr. Conway has assembled the largest cohort of inner-city residents and/or drug users treated for HCV infection in Canada, numbering over 500 with cure rates exceeding 93%. Among those who have been treated, re-infection rates have been below 1.5% and expected opioid-related mortality has declined by 75%.
In addition to local efforts in Vancouver, Dr. Conway is co-leading the British Columbia HCV Elimination Committee and the development of the Blueprint to inform HCV elimination efforts in Canada.
Hear from Dr. Conway himself in this interview: