According to the World Health Organisation, 10-15% of Vietnam’s population is estimated to have viral hepatitis, including 1.07 million people who have Hepatitis C. Over 90% of those who have Hepatitis C are not aware of their positive status.
OUCRU, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (Ho Chi Minh City), and Vietnam’s National Hospital for Tropical Diseases (Hanoi) have been collaborating on Hepatitis C clinical trials since 2018.
To date, clinical trials led by OUCRU have recruited from populations already engaged in care at the HTD. Participants are aware of HCV infection and its implications and are well-motivated to seek treatment.
However our clinical trials are investigating the efficacy of treatment strategies that could be used to treat underserved populations (e.g. ultrashort or intermittent therapy). So we are developing innovative ways to engage with these ‘hard-to-reach’ populations, such as people who inject drugs (PWID), men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers, as well as low-income communities.
OUCRU’s social science and public engagement teams are currently working with these underrepresented groups using an approach called community-based participatory research (CBPR). The aim is to create community-led strategies to improve access to care and treatment for populations at risk of viral hepatitis.