Public Health England estimates around 89,000 people are chronically infected with hepatitis C1, with injecting drug use the main driver of HCV transmission in England. As NHS England announces new plans to proactively identify and treat others who may be unaware they have hepatitis C2, headway is being made to reach the World Health Organization’s 2030 elimination goal.

In Scotland, where the HCV elimination goal has been set to 2024 by the Scottish Government, examples of impactful patient-centric models of care are having an impact. NHS Tayside has effectively eliminated HCV in the region through collaboration and adapting to patient needs3, becoming the first region in the world to do so.

A recent report from the Boston Consulting Group Winning The Race To Elimination made recommendations for national elimination strategies which focussed on the individuality of patient pathways, stating:

“A high level of acceptance of individual life circumstances, rather than rigid exclusion criteria in selecting patients for treatment (e.g. based on active drug or alcohol consumption), will determine the success of HCV elimination.”4

Clearly, effective HCV elimination models require a deep understanding of the needs of those most affected by it – those at risk and those diagnosed. Public Health England identifies that often marginalised communities such as people who inject drugs, the homeless and those in prison settings at higher risk. Understanding the lived experiences of these communities and the barriers they face is key to unlocking further progress in the journey to elimination.

In these two new guided virtual reality videos (below), users can step inside the patient experience and hear, see and experience perspectives from those in at risk communities.

These guided immersive videos are best experienced with a VR headset, or in full screen mode. Headphones are also recommended.

People who use drugs (PWUD) setting

The first film introduces the personal stories of Steve, Sunny and Linda who have experienced homelessness after becoming addicted to drugs. They discuss the barriers faced to accessing health services, developing dialogues around liver disease, and how to encourage more people to get tested. The film also features healthcare professionals on some of the interventions being used to engage patients in testing and treatment.

Correctional setting

In the second film, Jamie, an inmate at Wandsworth Prison, discusses the prevailing stigma that persists around hepatitis C. Healthcare professionals explains the pathways in place within the correctional setting to identify and support patients with hepatitis C, including dried blood spot testing and prison champions.


  4. Report commissioned and sponsored by Gilead Sciences

IHQ-LVD-2020-10-0004 • Date of Preparation: October 2020