The impact of injecting networks on hepatitis C transmission and treatment in people who inject drugs

Hellard, Margaret, Rolls, David A., Sacks-Davis, Rachel, Robins, Garry, Pattison, Philippa, Higgs, Peter, Aitken, Campbell, and McBryde, Emma (2014) The impact of injecting networks on hepatitis C transmission and treatment in people who inject drugs. Hepatology, 60 (6). pp. 1861-1870.

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Abstract

With the development of new highly efficacious direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatments for hepatitis C virus (HCV), the concept of treatment as prevention is gaining credence. To date, the majority of mathematical models assume perfect mixing, with injectors having equal contact with all other injectors. This article explores how using a networks-based approach to treat people who inject drugs (PWID) with DAAs affects HCV prevalence. Using observational data, we parameterized an exponential random graph model containing 524 nodes. We simulated transmission of HCV through this network using a discrete time, stochastic transmission model. The effect of five treatment strategies on the prevalence of HCV was investigated; two of these strategies were (1) treat randomly selected nodes and (2) "treat your friends," where an individual is chosen at random for treatment and all their infected neighbors are treated. As treatment coverage increases, HCV prevalence at 10 years reduces for both the high- and low-efficacy treatment. Within each set of parameters, the treat your friends strategy performed better than the random strategy being most marked for higher-efficacy treatment. For example, over 10 years of treating 25 per 1,000 PWID, the prevalence drops from 50% to 40% for the random strategy and to 33% for the treat your friends strategy (6.5% difference; 95% confidence interval: 5.1-8.1).

Conclusion: Treat your friends is a feasible means of utilizing network strategies to improve treatment efficiency. In an era of highly efficacious and highly tolerable treatment, such an approach will benefit not just the individual, but also the community more broadly by reducing the prevalence of HCV among PWID.

Item ID: 39738
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1527-3350
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC), Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program, Burnet Institute
Projects and Grants: NHMRC 331312, NHMRC 1001144, ARC DP0987730
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2015 03:58
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110309 Infectious Diseases @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 40%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160508 Health Policy @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920207 Health Policy Evaluation @ 50%
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