Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most prevalent blood-borne infectious disease in the United States, especially among drug users, and coinfection with HIV is common. Because drug users are often medically underserved, drug treatment units are important sites of opportunity for providing services for these infectious diseases. Given the commonalities in the routes of transmission of HIV and HCV, and the fact that many drug treatment units have established an infrastructure to provide HIV services, some have suggested integrating HCV services into those already established for HIV. Using data collected in a telephone survey with 89 drug treatment units throughout the United States, this paper examines the extent to which drug treatment units have expanded their HIV services to include those for HCV, and the extent to which this expansion was facilitated by having HIV services in place. Overall, a greater proportion of methadone maintenance than drug-free treatment units provided services for HIV and HCV. The majority of units in both modalities that provided HIV- and HCV-related services expanded their HIV service delivery to include similar HCV services, and one third expanded all of their HIV services. A large number of these units, however, indicated that having an HIV service infrastructure did not facilitate this expansion, often because the units wanted to emphasize differences in the two viral infections. Policy makers and individual treatment units need to develop strategies that capitalize on existing infrastructures while maintaining the distinction between HIV and HCV primary and secondary prevention efforts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases