CGHE, INHSU Release Report: Expanding access to hepatitis C prevention, testing, and treatment in prisons

CGHE, INHSU Release Report: Expanding access to hepatitis C prevention, testing, and treatment in prisons

Atlanta – The Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination (CGHE) and INHSU Prisons, a Special Interest Group of the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU), have published an overview of barriers and recommendations for hepatitis C prevention, testing, and treatment for persons who are incarcerated. The report is drawn from a workshop held in October of 2022 at the 10th International Conference on Health and Hepatitis Care in Substance Users in Glasgow, Scotland.

In 2016, the World Health Organization set global goals for elimination of hepatitis C (HCV) by 2030. Despite signs of progress, with 9.4 million persons treated globally as of 2019 (13% of all persons living with HCV globally) (WHO, 2022), elimination can only be achieved when all persons have equitable access to HCV prevention, testing, and treatment. Persons who are incarcerated experience among the highest burdens of HCV globally, with an anti-HCV prevalence estimated between 13-26% (Larney et al., 2013; Dolan et al., 2016; Moradi et al., 2018; Salari et al., 2022) compared to approximately a 1% prevalence for the general population (WHO, 2022). Persons who are incarcerated should have the right to access HCV services, but they too often face systematic discrimination.

Director of the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination, John Ward, said of the report: “Unless we address the inequities around treatment of HCV in prisons, we will not eliminate hepatitis C. People who are incarcerated are at greater risk, yet they face more barriers to accessing care. It makes economical, logical and ethical sense to provide this care in the prison setting.”

Andrew Lloyd, Chair of INHSU Prisons Network added, “The goal must be elimination for all, and we have a duty to ensure better testing and treatment in correctional facilities. This report provides a way forward for policymakers and providers who are ready to contribute solutions and improve the overall health of their communities.”

The new report summarizes the barriers to improved HCV care in prisons, as well as key recommendations as they were outlined in the Glasgow workshop. The workshop and subsequent report were divided into three sections. The first section sets the stage by providing the latest epidemiological data, the most current policy guidance, and an update on models of care for HCV in prisons. The second section presents best practices based on real-world experiences for overcoming particular challenges inhibiting access to HCV prevention, screening, and treatment services in prison settings. The third section presents case studies from a wide range of settings on advocacy strategies for addressing roadblocks in policy, financing, implementation, or general awareness to scaling up access to HCV care in prisons.

The report, “Expanding access to hepatitis C prevention, testing, and treatment in prisons: Recommendations from the INHSU 2022 Prisons Workshop,” provides a comprehensive roadmap for improving HCV care and treatment for persons who are incarcerated across diverse settings. The workshop model allowed for input from diverse stakeholders, including persons with lived experience of providing and receiving HCV care in the prison setting.

CGHE and INHSU Prisons will co-host a webinar on March 21 to review the report’s findings and recommendations, and to convene a Community of Practice in order to further promote improved outcomes for hepatitis C treatment in prisons.

To download the report and learn more: