The purpose of this study included three goals: 1) to develop and formatively evaluate a behavioral intervention to change the risk behavior of persons who are actively injecting drugs to reduce new infections, 2) to investigate the acceptance and utility of telehealth as a method to deliver HCV care and treatment and 3) to develop, implement and evaluate distinct educational interventions for patients and providers.
The behavioral intervention was developed and is currently being implemented and formatively evaluated at a syringe services program in New York City. The intervention operates at a small group level (6-10 participants, three sessions over two weeks) and focuses on role-play as the central mechanism of education and behavior change practice. As participants role-play, they learn the risks associated with sharing drugs, needles and other injecting equipment and ways to avoid disease transmission. The intervention was well received and consistently attended by participants, experiencing no attrition, which is unusual for a multiple-session intervention spanning more than a single day. Early data also suggest that this intervention has a positive effect on participant behavior. The intervention is provided in three iterations over the project year to allow refinement, and the project recently completed the second iteration. The outcome of this project is an intervention that allows for rigorous evaluation in a subsequent year to examine behavior change over time.
The education component reached approximately 110 patients who completed pre and post-test assessments. These patients were included in the approximately 320 individuals from the original survey manuscript published in 2014. These data are presently undergoing statistical analysis.
The PET-C project was funded through support from AbbVie and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, but is no longer supported by the Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition.