Next month, April, brings the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), the International Liver Congress (ILC) 2017 in Amsterdam. The ILC serves as one of the most important international meetings on liver research in the calendar year. This year, also in Amsterdam just prior to the opening day of the ILC, the Correlation Network Hepatitis C Initiative has organized the two-day Hepatitis C Community Summit on the 18th and 19th of April.
It is now critically important to reach out to risk groups, such as networks of people who inject drugs, to involve and inform them about treatment options, to provide barrier-free access, and to meet people where they are.
To face the challenges ahead and to effectively provide access to all patients in need, we think the medical world, hepatologists, and consequently the International Liver Congress, must take into account crucial aspects of public health and community involvement to reach global hepatitis elimination goals.
Due to the fact that treatment with new direct-acting antivirals is quick and effective, it is now critically important to reach out to risk groups, such as networks of people who inject drugs, to involve and inform them about treatment options, to provide barrier-free access, and to meet people where they are: in community centres, harm reduction and low-threshold service settings, opioid substitution treatment centres, etc.
The Hepatitis C Community Summit fills a gap in the world of hepatitis C virus (HCV) research, bringing together diverse partners from Europe to provide a platform for community inclusion with all those involved in HCV treatment, most notably civil society. The Summit will bring attention to bear on hepatitis C from the perspectives of medical experts and researchers, as well as patients and representatives of harm reduction and community services in order.
The Summit aims to provide an overview on existing (community related) initiatives, to address challenges and barriers ahead, and provide a platform for exchange across professional borders.
The Summit aims to provide an overview on existing (community related) initiatives, to address challenges and barriers ahead, and provide a platform for exchange across professional borders. In this regard, we are very happy that EASL, WHO, and other important stakeholders and speakers will be contributing to the event.
In addition to attending community members, patient representatives, service providers in community and harm reduction settings, researchers, and several policy makers, we invite ILC participants to join the two-day programme. There will be a welcome, keynote, short plenary speeches from the full spectrum of knowledge in the hepatitis field, and roundtable discussions on the first day as well as two plenary sessions, parallel workshop-style sessions, and a final reception during the second day.
The Summit will be concluded with the launch of a ‘Community Declaration’, a consensus statement highlighting the importance of community involvement in the process of eliminating HCV. This declaration will initially be endorsed by the Hepatitis C Community Summit organizing partners:
- AFEW International,
- Correlation Network,
- European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG),
- European African Treatment Advocates Network (EATAN),
- European Network of People Who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD),
- and International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies (IDHDP).
We look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam!
Hepatology, Medicine and Policy is now accepting submissions on this and related issues. For more information, visit: www.hmap.biomedcentral.com.