Aims: To estimate the impact of existing high-coverage needle and syringe provision (HCNSP, defined as obtaining more than one sterile needle and syringe per injection reported) and opioid substitution therapy (OST) on hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission among people who inject drugs (PWID) in three UK settings and to determine required scale-up of interventions, including HCV treatment, needed to reach the World Health Organization (WHO) target of reducing HCV incidence by 90% by 2030.
Design: HCV transmission modelling using UK empirical estimates for effect of OST and/or HCNSP on individual risk of HCV acquisition.
Setting and Participants: Three UK cities with varying chronic HCV prevalence (Bristol 45%, Dundee 26%, Walsall 19%), OST (72-81%) and HCNSP coverage (28-56%).
Measurements: Relative change in new HCV infections throughout 2016-30 if current interventions were stopped. Scale-up of HCNSP, OST and HCV treatment required to achieve the WHO elimination target.
Findings: Removing HCNSP or OST would increase the number of new HCV infections throughout 2016 to 2030 by 23-64 and 92-483%, respectively. Conversely, scaling-up these interventions to 80% coverage could achieve a 29 or 49% reduction in Bristol and Walsall, respectively, whereas Dundee may achieve a 90% decrease in incidence with current levels of intervention because of existing high levels of HCV treatment (47-58 treatments per 1000 PWID). If OST and HCNSP are scaled-up, Walsall and Bristol can achieve the same impact by treating 14 or 40 per 1000 PWID annually, respectively (currently two and nine treatments per 1000 PWID), while 18 and 43 treatments per 1000 PWID would be required if OST and HCNSP are not scaled-up.
Conclusions: Current opioid substitution therapy and high-coverage needle and syringe provision coverage is averting substantial hepatitis C transmission in the United Kingdom. Maintaining this coverage while getting current drug injectors onto treatment can reduce incidence by 90% by 2030.
- HCV treatment scale-up
- hepatitis C virus
- mathematical model
- needle and syringe provision
- opioid substitution therapy
- people who inject drugs