Key milestone reached by alcohol and drug treatment services in global fight to eliminate hepatitis C page thumbnail

A major step has been taken in the global fight to eliminate hepatitis C following the success of community-based alcohol and drug treatment services in achieving a key milestone.

Inclusion, part of Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) has achieved ‘micro-elimination’ of the virus within all its services, resulting in:

  • 100% of people in structured treatment having been offered hepatitis C test
  • 98% of people in structured treatment with a history of injecting having had a least one test
  • 90% of people in structured treatment with an injecting history who may still be at risk having received a test in the last 12 months
  • 90% of people in structured treatment who have hepatitis C have cleared the virus naturally or through treatment. 

Inclusion’s efforts to achieve micro-elimination across its services in Telford & Wrekin, Thurrock, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has resulted in this significant milestone.

Inclusion is part of a global effort being led by the World Health Organisation to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030 and is working in partnership with Hep C U Later, a collaboration between the NHS Addiction Providers Alliance, Gilead Sciences and the NHS England Hepatitis C elimination programme.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that most commonly affects the liver and is spread through blood-to-blood contact, such as sharing drug injecting equipment.  If left untreated it can lead to liver disease, cancer and death. Intravenous drug use is the most common way to contract the virus in the UK and it is estimated around half of people who inject drugs in England have, at some point, been infected. Hepatitis C doesn’t always have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. As a result, a person may have the virus without realising it.

Danny Hames, Head of Inclusion and Chair of the NHS Addiction Providers Alliance said: “This accomplishment has certainly saved lives and improved the quality of life for numerous residents across England. However, this is a point in time and the #HepCULater campaign and teams are determined to maintain this progress – our work does not and cannot end here.”

Deanne Burch, Lead for Hep C U Later said: “To have achieved what our staff and teams have done is testament to their incredible hard work, commitment and compassion. We are hugely proud of the part we have played, and continue to play in the global fight to eliminate hepatitis C in order to save lives.”