Peer Led Harm Reduction Service Delivers Significantly Better Outcomes In Hepatitis C Prevention And Treatment

Author: Harrod ME, Pepolim L, Henderson C

Theme: Models of Care Year: 2018

Genuine peer models are the exception in harm reduction services in Australia. In spite of a
commitment to community partnership in New South Wales, there are few services with
identified peer roles that provide harm reduction and hepatitis C (HCV) treatment. The
exception is the NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA), which delivers HCV treatment
support and needle and syringe program (NSP) services.
Description of model of care:
The NUAA NSP is a fixed-site service located in inner Sydney staffed by peer workers and
volunteers. From 2015, the service doubled its opening hours and embarked on the
expansion and development of the volunteer program. NSP workers and volunteers have
specialist training in referrals, brief interventions, harm reduction and hepatitis C treatment
support. The NSP offers a clinical service and a peer navigation service for people wishing
to take part in hepatitis C treatment.
The NUAA NSP is demonstrably more effective that other NSP services in NSW. Over the
past three years, occasions of service have increased by 100% while distribution of sterile
injecting equipment has increased by over 50%. A state-wide NSP survey has shown that
while the NUAA NSP client base is more marginalised than in comparable services,
receptive syringe sharing is significantly lower than the rest of NSW with 15.2% of attendees
having used equipment after a peer in the previous month compared to 20.3% for the rest of
the state. Likewise, the percentage of attendees who have taken up treatment for hepatitis C
in the previous year was over 45% compared to 20% in the rest of the state. These results
have been replicated across multiple surveys and demonstrate that peer-delivered services
are highly effective and the NUAA service model should be replicated throughout the state.
Disclosure of Interest Statement:
No conflict of interest. NUAAs harm reduction services are funded by the NSW Ministry of

Download abstract Download Poster