Nationwide, the prevalence of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has risen in recent years. At least 90% of infected persons must be treated to achieve global elimination targets. The current study aimed to explore barriers to, and facilitators of, direct-acting antiviral (DAA) HCV treatment uptake amongst pregnant and early-parenting women undergoing comprehensive substance use treatment. Twenty participants with documented HCV antibody positivity were recruited from two substance use treatment centers in central Kentucky. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore knowledge about HCV, previous experiences, and intentions to seek care. Themes were extracted using an inductive analytical approach. Most participants were aware of the dangers posed by HCV infection. However, there was a high degree of misinformation about transmission mechanisms and treatment eligibility requirements. Low priority for HCV treatment also surfaced as a barrier to treatment uptake. Participants reported being unable to seek care due to time and resource limitations in the presence of a highly demanding treatment process. Findings from the current study suggest that more work is needed to eliminate residual barriers that limit access to HCV treatment among pregnant and early-parenting women in treatment for substance use disorder.

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Published in Infectious Disease Reports, v. 14, issue 1.

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Support for this study was provided through UK College of Pharmacy “Igniting Research Collaboration (IRC)” pilot project grant and NIH grant number UL1TR001998.

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Given the sensitivity of the subject matter, only redacted versions of the transcripts can be provided upon request. Please email all requests to Ayooluwatomiwa Deborah Adekunle.

The following are available online at https://www.mdpi.com/article/10.3390/idr14010001/s1, Table S1: Summary of Reported HCV Treatment Barriers and Facilitators among a Sample of Pregnant/Early Parenting Mothers in SUD Treatment. The materials are also available for download as the additional file listed at the end of this record.

idr-14-00001-s001.zip (30 kB)
Supplementary file