Windows of Opportunity: Integrated Hepatitis C Programming Approaches for Priority Populations

Priority directions to address hepatitis C amongst older adults

Hepatitis C and older adults

Older adults represent an extremely heterogeneous population, so efforts to develop programming must incorporate a diversity of approaches and strategies.

Vision for an integrated model of care for older adults

Local and cultural contextualization of any model is critical, but the following elements support a common vision for an effective and relevant hepatitis C model of care for older adults.

Everyone who lives with hepatitis C should:

  • know that they are living with hepatitis C;
  • have choices with respect to their care, treatment and support; and
  • have barrier-free access to appropriate care, treatment and support.

Recommendations for older adults: tools, resources and supports

  • Prioritize a publicly funded awareness-raising campaign specifically for older adults and their service providers, which educates them generally, but also more specifically underscores the importance of urgency (testing and diagnosis), care and treatment and social support.
  • Ensure barrier-free access to testing and care through innovative approaches to care, counselling and social support (not limited to or restricted by pharmacological interventions).
  • Focus on the age of the virus instead of simply on the age of the individual.
  • Foster broader awareness of treatment options and ensure that models prioritize mental health and wellness over purely pharmacological interventions specific to hepatitis.
  • Develop peer support and support groups for older adults.
  • Increase mainstream media awareness to de-stigmatize and normalize hepatitis C.
  • Increase the profile of people with lived experience who are willing to act as public champions and to share their stories.
  • Develop a national hepatitis C strategy with approaches specific to older adults.