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Availability of Hepatitis C Services in Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facilities in Pennsylvania

Carr, Margaret (2020) Availability of Hepatitis C Services in Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facilities in Pennsylvania. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that killed more than 17,000 people in the United States in 2017. Chronic hepatitis C infection can cause liver damage, cirrhosis and liver cancer and is the leading cause of liver transplantation. The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) estimates over 200,000 Pennsylvanians are currently infected with hepatitis C. The opioid epidemic has led to an increase in new hepatitis C infections transmitted by injection drug use. Offering hepatitis C-related services to people who use drugs can improve their health and prevent further transmission of Hepatitis C. From May 2019 through July 2019, the PADOH conducted a survey of drug and alcohol treatment facilities to assess the breadth of hepatitis C-related services and identify barriers to offering these services. Among the 825 licensed facilities in Pennsylvania, survey was emailed to a stratified random sample of 330 urban and rural facilities. Of the 330 facilities selected for the survey, there were 316 eligible and 242 facilities submitted surveys (77%). Seventy-six facilities (32%) reported that they test at least some of their clients for HCV. This rate is similar to national estimates with 27.5% of substance use facilities reporting offering screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV). Of the facilities that test for HCV, 26 (34%) test all clients and 40 additional sites reported specifically testing people who inject drugs. Just 24 (10%) of the facilities provide onsite confirmatory testing, which is needed to diagnose HCV, and 26 (11%) facilities provide HCV treatment onsite. The biggest barrier to providing HCV testing was funding, according to response selected by 64 (28%) of facilities. Hepatitis C is a significant public health issue in Pennsylvania, and residents with substance use disorders are a high-risk population. With just one-third of Pennsylvania facilities offering HCV testing to their clients, they are an untapped resource for expanding HCV testing, linkage to care, and ultimately cure in Pennsylvania. Policies, such as universal screening in treatment facilities and integrated behavioral health and physical health services, should be implemented as structural interventions to encourage the offering of HCV-related services in these settings statewide.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Carr, Margaretmjc194@pitt.edumjc194
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSonger, Thomastjs@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberOrkis, Laurenlaorkis@pa.govUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMair, Christinacmair@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 25 April 2020
Date Type: Completion
Number of Pages: 57
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2020 20:57
Last Modified: 01 May 2022 05:15

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