Turning Point has launched its own hepatitis C strategy setting out how it intends to support the World Health Organization’s aim of eliminating the virus as a major public health threat by 2030.
The charity will provide testing and specialist treatment, as well as use staff training and the sharing of harm reduction information to help eradicate the condition.
Turning Point has already offered dry blood spot testing to 95 per cent of its service users who have ever injected drugs. It now aims to reach the remaining 5 per cent, with clients at risk of infection offered a re-test every year as a ‘minimum standard’. More than 58,000 people accessed the organisation’s substance misuse services last year, with two in five who have injected likely to be infected and many unaware that they are living with the virus.
Service staff will be trained to ‘myth-bust’ client perceptions that treatment still involves older methods with their attendant side effects, while peer mentors and volunteers will be trained alongside staff to deliver ‘effective and evidence-based’ hep C interventions. Each service will also have its own hepatitis C champion.
‘We are proud to be playing a part in eliminating the virus as a public health threat,’ said chief executive Lord Victor Adebowale. ‘As an organisation we have excellent reach into the populations most affected by this devastating, but entirely treatable, illness. By providing access to testing and treatment in all of our substance misuse services across the country, we will be playing a crucial role in eliminating Hep C.’
Strategy at www.turning-point.co.uk
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