New project targets Hep C in prisons

Our Hepatitis C service in Glasgow has recently launched a new project working with prisoners in HMP Barlinnie.

As many as one in five of the prison population in Scotland are thought to be living with Hepatitis C and the Scottish Government has made testing in prisons a priority.

Building on this, our new project, funded by AbbVie, will provide support to individuals who are newly diagnosed, or who already know their Hepatitis C status, while in prison.

A key part of this work will be preparing individuals for liberation from prison. While in prison, people living with Hepatitis C are able to access effective treatment which can cure the virus. However,  there is evidence to suggest that some former prisoners struggle to maintain treatment following liberation –this is a particular challenge for individuals on shorter sentences. Our dedicated Prison Link Worker will assist prisoners to plan for liberation, and will work with them in the community to support continuing treatment and access to support services. The worker will also provide support in prison to aid rehabilitation. We will work with individuals to help them talk about issues, like recovery from drug use, which in many cases will be a factor in both their Hepatitis C diagnosis and their offending.

The new project represents an innovative approach to the issue of tackling Hepatitis C in prisons. It will help more people to clear Hepatitis C, contributing to efforts to reduce new infections while also addressing behaviour and tackling re-offending.

We are looking forward to working with service users, and the team at HMP Barlinnie to make the project a success.