TB/HIV Care Association
TB/HIV Care Association received a grant of $746,737 for a 3 years project to reduce transmission of viral hepatitis C and patient care through prevention and treatment initiatives in high risk populations consisting of sex workers (SWs), men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who use drugs (PWUD).
South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic in the world, however, sex workers (SWs), men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who use drugs (PWUD), including people who inject drugs (PWID) are disproportionately affected. SWs, MSM and PWUD/ID are at an increased risk for viral hepatitis through sexual contact and PWID face additional risks from the use of contaminated injecting equipment. Due to the criminalization of several behaviors and high risk practices among this cohort their risk for viral hepatitis infection is great. However, very little epidemiological data on viral hepatitis among these populations in South Africa exists.
The team will establish a HCV and HIV surveillance system for MSM, SWs and PWUD/ID in South Africa to provide information assessing the viral burden of HCV and to understand the epidemiology and associated risk factors among these groups. The goals are to develop innovative approaches to enhance the detection of HCV in low resource limited setting particularly for high risk populations and to pilot the integration of viral hepatitis screening, testing and referral into HIV prevention and treatment programs for MSM, SWs and PWUD/ID in South Africa
The project with also seek to develop sustainable strategies to increased access to HCV related prevention, diagnostic and treatment services in South Africa.