The COTTAGE project

Start Date: 30 Oct 2014 End Date: 30 Sep 2019

Case finding and outreach initiatives to overcome HCV Treatment Access inequality in a geographically isolated population in England: The COTTAGE project

The problem

Hepatitis C (HCV) causes liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. This project aims to identifying ‘missing’ cases in geographically isolated areas, such as the Isle of Wight and engage those with the infection in treatment. Potentially up to 200 people are living with Hep C without a diagnosis and therefore without treatment.

Across the UK 90% of new diagnoses of Hepatitis C are in people who currently or have previously injected drugs – So for us the challenge is to make sure we reach enough people this community on the Island.

The solution

To run a Hepatitis C awareness campaign across the Isle of Wight and offer tests in local pharmacies 

The impact

Researchers at CLAHRC Wessex began our survey with a sample of people who were able and enthusiastic about taking part and had friends who were also willing. These initial participants have gone on to invite these friends to take part and these have gone on to invite others and so it has continued. We have carried out more than 150 tests in local pharmacies. 

We have completed cross sectional survey to establish effectiveness of testing service.

We have undertaken quantification of the existing burden of HCV on the Isle of Wight using respondent driven sampling.

From these findings we hope this will give us a better idea about how many cases of Hep C are actually missing on the Isle of Wight and importantly the characteristics of those that are missing so that future services can be better designed to meet their needs.

Dr Ryan Buchanan