05th International Scientific Conference on Hepatitis in Drug Users (INHSU 2016) in Norway
Oct. 19, 2018
From September 06th to 09th 2016, the 05th International Symposium on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users (INHSU 2016) was held in Oslo, Norway. This is a biennial international symposium focused on the management of hepatitis among substance users. The main message of this year's conference is to encourage the removal of restrictions preventing people who use drugs from accessing new hepatitis C cures. So long as these restrictions exist, the goal of disease elimination will remain out of reach.
The symposium has attracted more than 400 participants, including scientist, researchers, global health experts and representatives of relevant civil society organizations from many countries throughout the world.
Two representatives from Vietnam were Ms. Pham Thi Minh, Chief Executive of VNPUD and Ms. Nguyen Thanh Huong - Program Manager of SCDI participated in the event.
Earlier on, the Community Networking Forum - an associated event was held on September 06th 2016 to showcase peer based groups and activities in Norway and provide an opportunity for attendees to network, exchange ideas, and develop advocacy and supportive communication strategies for the INSHU conference. During this Forum, Ms. Pham Thi Minh, the Chief Executive of VNPUD presented the activities that the Network has implemented in Vietnam, from organizing training courses, seminars, workshops for CBOs on the provincial network to provide law and health insurance information, new measures to enhance access to treatment of drug addiction and hepatitis B/C, etc.
The conference was officially held from 06th to 09th September 2016, where global health experts continue to bring more research that further emphasize the positive influence of treatment for substance users in reducing the transmission of Hepatitis C and present the alternative to to achieve best results.
Photo credit: INHSU 2016 Website: "The Virus" (2016) by Aleksandra Bartoszko & Marcin Ponomarew
“Illicit drug use prior to and during Hepatitis C therapy had no impact on the effectiveness of the therapy, and that reinfection is low..."
Studies have shown that, contrary to common concerns about poor adherence, fears of reinfection and concerns over efficacy of Hepatitis C therapy among substance users, “illicit drug use prior to and during Hepatitis C therapy had no impact on the effectiveness of the therapy, and that reinfection is low, at 4%". The results also showed excellent treatment adherence. Cure rates were comparable to results in Hepatitis C populations that exclude people who use drugs,” according to the world’s largest study of new Hepatitis c curative therapies – the C-EDGE CO-STAR Clinical Trial.
Moreover, mathematical modelling suggests that even moderate levels of treatment uptake in people who use drugs could offer considerable prevention benefits.
One study looking at settings in Scotland, Australia and Canada indicated a 3-5 times increase in treatment uptake among people who inject drugs could halve Hepatitis C prevalence in 15 years.
Other studies on people who inject drugs in the UK and France concluded realistic treatment scale-up could achieve 15-50% reduction in chronic Hepatitis C prevalence in a decade.
To add to the benefits, treating people who use drugs with moderate or mild Hepatitis C with new therapies is cost-effective compared to delaying until cirrhosis.
Chair of the INSHU 2016 Symposium - Professor Olav Dalgard stated: “We strongly recommend that all restrictions on access to new Hepatitis C treatments based on drug or alcohol use or opioid substitution treatment be removed. There is no good ethical or health based evidence for such discriminations. Nor do the restrictions make clinical, public health or health economic sense.”
Professor Olav Dalgard. Photo credit: www.dagensmedisin.no
“We strongly recommend that all restrictions on access to new Hepatitis C treatments based on drug or alcohol use or opioid substitution treatment be removed."
Professor Jeffrey Lazarus from Centre for Health and Infectious Disease Research, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark added: “Providing treatment to people who inject drugs, integrated with harm reduction programs and linkage to care, is the key to Hepatitis C program success. And our experience in Copenhagen shows this can work. Such efforts need to be initiated and scaled up globally.”
“Countries such as Australia and France have taken the lead in adopting evidence-based policies that will save lives. Now it’s time for other countries, including the US and Norway, to follow their lead and allow all patients with chronic Hepatitis C to be treated with the new drugs”,Professor Olav Dalgard concluded.
|The International symposium on Hepatitis care in substance users: This is the leading International conference focused on the management of hepatitis among substance users. It is organized by the International Network for Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU). The symposium is held biennially and was first held in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2009, Brussels, Belgium, in 2011, Munich, Germany, in 2013 and Sydney, Australia, in 2015. In 2015, INHSU decided to move to an annual symposium to keep pace with the rapid development of new therapies and exciting new research on HCV care among people who inject drugs. Hence, the 2016 INHSU symposium was held in Oslo, Norway.|
More information on INHSU 2016 website: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/149095/340064/