The Recovery Partnership And Hep C – We’re Here For You
The Recovery Partnership offers a range of support for our clients at risk of or living with Hepatitis C. From the beginning, we support you with comprehensive advice and information, facilitate Blood Borne Virus testing for Hep C, Hep B and HIV, Hep B vaccinations, 1-2-1 support and even through to support at hospital appointments. We are also constantly striving to improve the service, treatment and support. With that in mind, please read below the latest developments our HCV team have to offer.
New HCV Treatment Drug Overview
Over that past months some of the new HCV treatment drugs have now become available and several clients are now being treated using the latest drugs. The new drugs are being offered to certain clients who are living with Hepatitis C genotype 1 or 3.
Drugs being prescribed for Hep C treatment now include:
Although a lot of patients will still be treated using a combination of drugs that include Interferon and Ribavirin the treatment duration, in some cases, has been reduced. In some cases as short as 12 weeks. Certain patients, who meet a criteria, may be offered Interferon free treatments.
What does this mean for our clients?
Many clients have expressed concern over Hepatitis C treatment as Interferon based treatments do come with side effects and have been lengthy treatments (48weeks) with, in some cases, the chance of clearing the virus and achieving SVR can be as low as 40-50%.
The newer treatments offer a shorter treatment duration and for some clients, if Interferon free treatments are offered, the treatments have significantly less side effects which in turn will help the clients to adhere to treatment and complete the course. Even with Interferon, if side effects are experienced, it will be for much less time. For those clients who have completed Hepatitis C treatment, but the treatment has not been successful, there are now more options available in order to be re-treated.
Community Hepatitis C Clinics
During September and October, the Recovery Partnership, in partnership with Warwick hospital have held community clinics for clients with Hepatitis C. Dr Helen Dillon, consultant from Warwick hospital along with a specialist viral hepatitis nurse have held clinics at Recovery Partnership Leamington and Stratford.
The clinics have been aimed at clients who have had difficulties with attending appointments at Warwick hospital but still need to be seen by a consultant. The clinics have enabled clients to not only see a consultant but to received up to date information on new Hepatitis C treatments and have any required blood tests done by the Recovery Partnership nurse’s. Following on from the success of the first community clinics, we are now talking with consultants at George Eliot hospital, Nuneaton and are hoping that more community clinics can be held at Recovery Partnership office’s to give the opportunity for clients and consultants to meet and discuss hepatitis C treatment.
Clients, so far have responded positively to this news, believing that adding this new comprehensive clinic to the service adds real value, not only to the treatment they receive but in how they perceive themselves as well as how they are perceived by the wider community.
Les, 58, injected heroin for 43 years. He now volunteers at Addaction to raise awareness of hepatitis C and is doing a counselling course.
“I started taking sleeping pills when I was about 13 years old. Life was painful and I wanted to not to be there. It was about blocking stuff out for me. I started injecting about aged 14 and didn’t stop until I finally found recovery a year ago.
I’m now trying to make a difference in other people’s lives. If just one person gets tested and treated for hepatitis C, it’s worth it. It’s never too late to turn it around. As long as there is breath in your body you can change things.
I was first diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1990 when I was still using. At the time I felt relieved I didn’t have HIV. I was a bit dismissive. I wasn’t armed with any of the information. I was left with the feeling it was incurable and progressive and I was so into my addiction it didn’t bother me.
I was still using when I started the first course of treatment. I still carried on using and sharing equipment. I didn’t know there was more than one type of hepatitis C you could catch. I thought if I already had it I couldn’t catch it twice.
I gave up after about 3 months because the side effects made it feel like I was withdrawing. If I’d had the support I now know exists, I’d have had a better chance. Getting free of drugs was a life or death decision for me. I asked myself if I wanted to die with a needle in my groin and I really had to search hard for the answer, but I chose life.”