Features 11 articles that share insights and scalable processes from two different settings.
Washington, D.C. – September 8, 2023 – The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) announces the publication of “Innovations in HIV/HCV Care,” a focus issue of its peer-reviewed journal Health Promotion Practice (HPP).
The collection is sponsored by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Special Project of National Significance to Cure Hepatitis C in People of Color Living with HIV.
The papers reflect outcomes and lessons learned from local studies and demonstration projects conducted by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine, the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, and the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.
The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have established targets for global and national elimination of HCV with a particular focus on priority populations such as persons with HIV/HCV. This call was stimulated in part by the development of direct-acting antiviral drugs that are curative in up to 95% of persons with HCV including persons with HIV/HCV co-infection.
However, it is critical that local efforts are coordinated, nuanced, and responsive to local context. The focus issue features 11 articles that share insights and scalable processes from two different settings. “HCV and HIV exist as a syndemic and if we are to eliminate HCV and end the HIV epidemic in the US, the kind of work presented in this collection of papers is vital, writes guest co-editor Dr. Waridibo Allison.
The articles highlight innovative practices around three key themes: supporting patients, supporting providers, and changing systems. These efforts are critically important to understanding and improving integration of clinical care delivery and services for patients co-infected with HIV and HCV. Across the two settings, researchers demonstrate that understanding local realities, whether they be epidemiological issues or clinical and system infrastructure, significantly impacts what can be implemented to meet the needs of the affected populations.
”We are very excited to share our experiences and lessons learned from the two very different states of CT and Texas,” writes guest co-editor Dr. Merceditas Villanueva, associate professor of medicine and director of the HIV/AIDS program at Yale School of Medicine. “Although Texas has a much larger population of persons with HIV, both states share the disparity of persons of color being overly represented. However, compared to Connecticut, persons with HIV in Texas tend to be younger and identify as Hispanic. These differences are important to understand for the design of strategies to cure hepatitis C.”
In general, multiple stakeholders are needed to tackle an ambitious goal of eliminating Hepatitis C even within the population of persons with HIV. Close collaboration between clinics and departments of public health is instrumental in tracking public health progress, as was evident in Connecticut. Clinicians, too, should examine their own attitudes toward treatment to ensure they are not harboring implicit biases that impede treatment. Patients usually have several barriers that impact their entry into care – a reality that should be acknowledged in treatment planning.
“The papers in this focus issue reflect core processes of effective health promotion practice, including evidence-informed policy and system change, investment in appropriate infrastructure, collaborative partnerships, supporting providers, and patient-centered care,” says HPP Editor Dr. Kathleen Roe. “We are proud to contribute to the global calls to eliminate HCV and HIV as public health threats.”