Exploring how hospitalization can alter hepatitis c virus treatment prioritization and trajectories in people who use drugs: A qualitative analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: People who use drugs (PWUD) have high rates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Hospitalization can be a time for PWUD to engage in addiction treatment, but little is known about how hospitalization shapes HCV treatment readiness. We aimed to describe how hospitalization and addiction medicine consult service (AMCS) can alter HCV prioritization of inpatient PWUD with HCV. Methods: We conducted a qualitative study consisting of semi-structured interviews (n = 27) of hospitalized adults with addiction and HCV infection seen by an AMCS at a single, urban, academic center. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded iteratively at the semantic level, and analyzed for themes. Results: Of the 27 participants, most identified as Caucasian (85%), male gender (67%), and they primarily used opioids (78%); approximately half (48%) reported HCV diagnosis over 5 years ago. We identified three main themes around hospitalization altering the prioritizations and HCV treatment preferences for PWUD: (1) HCV treatment non-engaged (2) HCV treatment urgency, and (3) HCV treatment in the future. Those wanting to treat HCV—whether urgently or in the future—shared the overlapping theme of hospitalization as a reachable moment for their addiction and HCV. These participants recognized the long-term benefits of addressing HCV and connected their hospitalization to substance use. Conclusion: In our study, PWUD with HCV expressed varying and competing priorities and life circumstances contributing to three main HCV treatment trajectories. Our results suggest ways hospitalization can serve as an HCV touchpoint for PWUD, especially in the context of addressing substance use, and could be used when designing and implementing targeted interventions to improve the HCV care continuum for PWUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSubstance Abuse
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • addiction medicine
  • hepatitis C
  • hospitalization
  • qualitative research
  • Substance-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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