A research study into the efficacy of rapid testing in needle exchanges funded by a grant from ABBVIE has recently been completed. Over 200 clients across 3 sites on the West Coast, Christchurch and Dunedin participated in the study which involved the administration of a finger prick test and following up testing/referral to treatment by needle exchange staff. As people who inject drugs bear the burden of hepatitis C and usually don’t access mainstream services due to fear of stigma and discrimination, this study was critical in establishing the validity of new services being provided in the exchanges themselves. As the needle exchange is a peer based, peer led programme, NZNEP has a credibility within the injecting drug using community.
Key findings included confirmation of regional prevalence rates; importance of peer based provision and provision in exchanges; improved access to treatment and treatment uptake.
The full report will be available shortly.
For further information contact Dr Geoff Noller, Researcher, NZNEP – National Office | NEST – firstname.lastname@example.org