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“We are very happy to host the biggest INHSU meeting”. That was how Rui Tato Marinho, one of the chairs of the Opening Ceremony on the Congress’ first day, ended his speech, after giving a brief presentation about Portugal. Alongside the gastroenterologist and hepatologist from Hospital de Santa Maria were Jeffrey Lazarus and Ricardo Baptista Leite. The message that crossed all of these interventions was that the 7th International Symposium on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users promises to be a success, with over seven hundred participants and 329 submitted abstracts, apart from the increased number of scholarships.
For Rui Tato Marinho, INHSU 2018 co-convenor and gastroenterologist in Hospital de Santa Maria, Portugal has two worlds in respect of treatment of hepatitis C: in one hand, the country has great specialists able to treat patients with VHC, a good hospital system, access to the best drugs in the world and laws that allow to treat all people. On the other hand, some hospitals and organizations that work in the field do not have capacity to allocate all the patients that need treatment, sometimes because of other reasons.
People who use drugs face many challenges in harm reduction programs, mainly because their actions are criminalized. In an interview to News Farma, Judy Chang, International Network of People who Use Drugs, explains what other challenges people who use or inject drugs encounter every day.
Ares do Pinhal Association is a Private Institution of Social Solidarity (IPSS) that has the mission to assist people in situations of social exclusion. One of the intervention areas of this project is meet the heroin-dependent population (with or without consumptions of other illicit or licit substances), through an outpatient public health surveillance and psychosocial support program, with methadone administration under low threshold requirement. Hugo Faria, Ares do Pinhal Association’s psychologist and coordinator team, explains what the mobile units do.