The Hep C in BC Resources Project
Pacific Hepatitis C Network (PHCN) is happy to report that our Hep C in BC Resources project has drawn to a successful close. This project ran from last fall to the end of March 2018.
Given the recent availability of effective hepatitis C treatments with minimal side effects (known as “direct acting antivirals” or DAAs), we wanted to know what resources already exist for hepatitis C in BC, what information people need about hepatitis C, and where opportunities for resource development and advocacy may lie in the future.
From mid-December to the end of January, we asked people connected to hepatitis C to fill out an online survey on these topics. Our target audience included:
- People with lived experience
- Service providers
- General public looking for more information
A big thank-you to all who responded!
Across the board, respondents preferred to get their information from medical professionals (those with specific hepatitis C training first, and medical professionals as a broad group second) and the Internet. Respondents identified a wide variety of resources they found helpful—though it is interesting to note that service providers mentioned high level, online resources more often, while people with lived experience mentioned peer-led resources more often.
Many respondents spoke positively of peer supports, or expressed a desire to be more connected with them. For us at PHCN, this presents a huge opportunity moving forward—prioritizing peer-led supports and ensuring the peer voice is heard in everything we do should always be a goal.
The most pressing information needs identified were around hepatitis C treatment. Many respondents wanted to know if there was a cost for hepatitis C treatment in BC (a question particularly relevant with the end of fibrosis staging restrictions in BC!) and what side effects are common with treatment. Respondents also felt that making treatment accessible meant both advocacy and ensuring that good information on treatment is available.
Another opportunity for advocacy that respondents identified was the impact of stigma, emphasizing that the stigma surrounding hepatitis C impacts every aspect of life. In particular, stigma has the greatest impact within the hep C community and in health care settings. As such, it is imperative that we work on developing solutions to reduce stigma, especially in these two areas.
We are excited to share the project’s summary, full project report and the Hep C Resources matrix. All of these can be found on the PHCN website.
We’d be delighted to speak with anyone about the report and our plans for work based on the report recommendations, and to hear any ideas for possible joint projects.
We look forward to your thoughts and comments as we move ahead!