People who inject drugs are most at risk for acquiring hepatitis C. In Thailand, studies among people who inject drugs (PWID) have shown that up to 80-90% of them have been infected with the virus. Breakthrough therapy now exists to cure hepatitis C, but uptake is low because of costs barriers, and PWID are often denied treatment.
The C-FREE Study is the first community-based model of care in Thailand for the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C in PWID, using a highly-effective novel treatment combination called Sofosbuvir/Ravidasvir. The study is based at drop-in-centers (DIC) run by partner organizations, for example, Ozone Foundation, Raks Thai Foundation, Thai Drug Users' Network (TDN), and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).
Testing for hepatitis C, but also hepatitis B, HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STI), and tuberculosis (TB) are all done at the DIC by trained research nurses. Care and support are provided for all participants who test positive for HBV, HIV, STI, and TB.
For eligible participants with HCV, physicians give treatment with Sofosbuvir/Ravidasvir through weekly clinics at the DIC. Participants who are cured are monitored for reinfection and provided support to stay HCV-free.
The C-FREE community based model of care has already shown early success, driving many people to come to access services.
Some participants have come from far distances in Thailand
to receive friendly care and treatment services.
Essentially all participants who have completed treatment have been confirmed to be cured from HCV infection.
Where we work
Samrong, Samut Prakan province
Phasi Charoen, Bangkok
Krungthep-Non, Nonthaburi province
Su-ngai Kolok, Narathiwat province
Chana, Songkhla province
Mae Ramat, Tak province
Public health center 28 Krung Thonburi, Bangkok
New Step Clinic Ladprao, Bangkok
How it works
1. Partner NGOs disseminate information
about the C-FREE treatment opportunity
to people who use drugs, in the community.
2. A Research Nurse in the community
drop-in-centers (DIC) provides counselling and testing of hepatitis C, hepatitis B, HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STI), and tuberculosis (TB)
3. People with confirmed Hepatitis C infection meet a study doctor who provides & monitors curative treatment of Hepatitis C, at the DIC weekly clinic.
4. 12 weeks after completion of treatment, the Research Nurse confirms cure of the infection with rapid viral load testing done on site.
Our future plans
Include and cure more people in need at the current C-FREE study sites.
Open new study sites in Pattani and Chiang Rai.