Prindsen is a low-threshold clinic established in Oslo in 2013 and designed to help people who inject drugs (PWIDs) who are infected with hepatitis C. The clinic provides emergency housing, a needle exchange programme, a health clinic and a drug consumption room.
PWIDs are at greater risk of contracting and transmitting hepatitis C unknowingly through sharing contaminated needles.
For the WHO elimination goal to be achieved by 2030, it will be essential to support this risk group to ensure their diagnosis, access to appropriate treatments and minimise reinfection.
Prindsen operates within the scope of the Oslo harm reduction services. The clinic is staffed by a general practitioner and two full-time nurses. Specialist advice can also be sought. The nurses test for viral hepatitis and liver damage and provide individually tailored hepatitis C treatment with an emphasis on flexibility and ambulatory work, responding to the patients’ specific needs and lifestyle.
In view of the high treatment uptake and virologic response among the PWIDs attending the clinic, this example of a low-threshold clinic demonstrates that a tailored approach to the needs of PWIDs yields results and needs to be rolled-out to other urban areas in order to help eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.
More than 90% of the PWID patients adhered to the treatment. Of these, 99% achieved a sustained viral response. Only two cases of probable hepatitis C reinfection occurred.
The clinic is publicly funded by the Oslo municipality.