Evaluation of hepatitis C test and treat interventions targeted at homeless populations (outside London) in England during the COVID-19 pandemic

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15 Jan 2021 by Public Health England
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This evaluation draws from: a survey of The Hepatitis C Trust peers, data collected by providers in 7 areas and structured interviews with providers from 11 areas, in order to assess initiatives to test and treat homeless people for HCV during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The evaluation aims to share learning and inform future initiatives. Across the 7 areas from which data was collected, 1263 people were tested, of whom 133 were HCV RNA positive. 83 of these, or 90.2% started treatment. Recommendations from this evaluation include, building strong partnerships; use incentives, but monitor their effectiveness; Find ways to initiate treatment outside of a clinical setting; Use innovative ways to keep in contact with, and follow-up, homeless clients; and adopt a flexible approach to the practical arrangements for testing and ideally use oral swabs, DBS or rapid point of care testing.