Living with Hepatitis C: A Vermont Needs Assessment
Introduction. Estimates show 1.63 cases of hepatitis C (HCV) per 1000 people in Vermont. Many are aware of their status, but do not seek treatment because of the demands of poverty and ineligibility due to IV drug use. Literature recommends modeling HCV care on the multi-disciplinary approach used for HIV/AIDS treatment. Vermont CARES (VT CARES), an HIV/AIDS service organization, is seeking to expand its services to Vermonters living with HCV.
Objectives. To investigate the usefulness and appeal of VT CARES’ services to patients living with HCV. To learn more about the demographics of Vermonters living with HCV. To determine whether these patients are comfortable accessing services through VT CARES.
Methods. HCV patients were surveyed at seven sites throughout Vermont. The survey consisted of 20 questions to assess demographics and the applicability of existing services at VT CARES. Raw data (n=48) were compiled, then analyzed graphically and with non-parametric statistical methods.
Results. 58% of respondents acquired their HCV infection via IV drug use. 77% rated at least one service by VT CARES to be “very helpful” in getting or staying on track with their HCV treatment. 72% reported feeling “somewhat comfortable” or “very comfortable” receiving services from VT CARES. Few were pursuing HCV treatment, but case management was associated with greater likelihood of pursuing it.
Recommendations. VT CARES should expand their services to include clients with HCV. Funding for viral hepatitis at the state and federal level should be expanded. Future research should look into barriers to HCV treatment.
Learning Areas:Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Identify the demographics of Hepatitis C-infected population in a geographic area. Identify criteria for successful treatment of Hepatitis C in vulnerable populations, such as IV drug users. Formulate strategies to link patients with Hepatitis C to existing service structures.
Keyword(s): Community-Based Health, Hepatitis C
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was involved in the design, implementation, data collection, analysis, writing, and presentation of this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.