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A qualitative assessment of the acceptability of hepatitis C remote self-testing and self-sampling amongst people who use drugs in London, UK

Guise, A; Witzel, TC; Mandal, S; Sabin, C; Rhodes, T; Nardone, A; Harris, M; (2018) A qualitative assessment of the acceptability of hepatitis C remote self-testing and self-sampling amongst people who use drugs in London, UK. BMC Infectious Diseases , 18 , Article 281. 10.1186/s12879-018-3185-7. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C (HCV) diagnosis and care is a major challenge for people who use illicit drugs, and is characterised by low rates of testing and treatment engagement globally. New approaches to fostering engagement are needed. We explored the acceptability of remote forms of HCV testing including self-testing and self-sampling among people who use drugs in London, UK. METHODS: A qualitative rapid assessment was undertaken with people who use drugs and stakeholders in London, UK. Focus groups were held with men who have sex with men engaged in drug use, people who currently inject drugs and people who formerly injected drugs (22 participants across the 3 focus groups). Stakeholders participated in semi-structured interviews (n = 5). We used a thematic analysis to report significant themes in participants' responses. RESULTS: We report an overarching theme of 'tension' in how participants responded to the acceptability of remote testing. This tension is evident across four separate sub-themes we explore. First, choice and control, with some valuing the autonomy and privacy remote testing could support. Second, the ease of use of self testing linked to its immediate result and saliva sample was preferred over the delayed result from a self administered blood sample tested in a laboratory. Third, many respondents described the need to embed remote testing within a supportive care pathway. Fourth, were concerns over managing a positive result, and its different meanings, in isolation. CONCLUSIONS: The concept of remote HCV testing is acceptable to some people who use drugs in London, although tensions with lived experience of drug use and health system access limit its relevance. Future development of remote testing must respond to concerns raised in order for acceptable implementation to take place.

Type: Article
Title: A qualitative assessment of the acceptability of hepatitis C remote self-testing and self-sampling amongst people who use drugs in London, UK
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12879-018-3185-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-018-3185-7
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: HCV, Hepatitis C, People who use drugs, Qualitative, Rapid assessment, Remote testing, Self testing
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10051350
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