Barriers and facilitators to undergoing hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing through drug treatment programs

Shiela M. Strauss, Corrine Munoz-Plaza, Nelson Jose Tiburcio, Janetta Astone-Twerell, Don C. Des Jarlais, Marya Gwadz, Holly Hagan, Andrew Osborne, Andrew Rosenblum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among drug users, HCV testing is critical in this population. While many drug treatment programs offer HCV testing, patients often do not utilize this essential program-facilitated service. Summarizing data collected in semi-structured interviews and surveys with patients in 25 programs, this paper identifies barriers and facilitators to being tested for HCV through the program. Barriers include the patient's belief that she/he is not HCV infected, fear of needles, fear of obtaining a positive HCV test result, fear of disclosure of such a result, and fear of inappropriate or disrespectful treatment during the testing process. In addition, 38% of HCV sero-unaware or sero-negative patients completing the survey did not know that HCV testing was offered through their programs. Salient facilitators for those tested through their programs include support from staff in explaining the importance of testing and help in understanding and coping with test results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1161-1185
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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