Treatment of hepatitis C has been revolutionised in recent years with the introduction of interferon-free direct-acting antiretroviral (DAA) medications. With far fewer side effects and higher success rates than past treatments, hepatitis C elimination has been adopted in Australia and elsewhere as an important public health goal.
Reaching all those affected by hepatitis C, informing them about the new treatments and their advantages, and making sure care and aftercare are adequate are ongoing challenges, however. In the lead-up to World Hepatitis Day 2020, the DruGS team is pleased to begin recruitment in Victoria and New South Wales for our new qualitative project on experiences of hepatitis C and treatment in an age in which elimination seems possible.
Entitled ‘Lived experiences of treatment for hepatitis C in Australia: An online resource for people considering treatment, members of the public, healthcare workers and other professionals’, the project is funded by the Australian Research Council. It is being led by Professor Suzanne Fraser (ARCSHS, La Trobe University), Professor Carla Treloar (CSRH, UNSW), Professor David Moore (ARCSHS, La Trobe University) and coordinated by Dr Adrian Farrugia (ARCSHS, La Trobe University).
The key outcomes from this study will be urgently needed new knowledge of impediments to treatment uptake, and a publicly accessible website. The website will present personal experiences of the new treatments, using original audio clips from our interviews, re-enacted video clips and text extracts. Also discussed will be issues to consider in decision-making about treatment, and tips and suggestions to enhance life on treatment and after.
Currently we are looking to speak to people who have considered treatment or undergone it (whether the new or old treatments). We are also interested in speaking with people who inject drugs who may not know whether they have hepatitis C.
Participation involves a confidential audio-recorded one-hour interview with a trained university researcher. All participants will be reimbursed $50 or an equivalent gift voucher.
As lead investigator Suzanne Fraser explains,
Treatments for hepatitis C have improved enormously in recent years, but not enough is known yet about experiences of these treatments or about health experiences after treatment. Our study will produce new understandings of the meanings given to hepatitis C for people affected by it, and to clearing the disease as well. We aim to identify impediments to treatment uptake, including the role of stigma, and draw on participants’ experiences and knowledge to improve treatment experiences.
If you would like to be involved in the study, please contact
Dr Adrian Farrugia on 0492 150 050 / firstname.lastname@example.org