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Chronic hepatitis B infection (CHB) affects 300 million people worldwide and is being targeted by the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), working towards elimination of hepatitis B virus (HBV) as a public health threat. In this piece, we explore the evidence and potential impact of peer support to enhance and promote interventions for people living with CHB. Peer support workers (PSWs) are those with lived experience of an infection, condition or situation who work to provide support for others, aiming to improve education, prevention, treatment and other clinical interventions and to reduce the physical, psychological and social impacts of disease. Peer support has been shown to be a valuable tool for improving health outcomes for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), but to date has not been widely available for communities affected by HBV. HBV disproportionately affects vulnerable and marginalised populations, who could benefit from PSWs to help them navigate complicated systems and provide advocacy, tackle stigma, improve education and representation, and optimise access to treatment and continuity of care. The scale up of peer support must provide structured and supportive career pathways for PSWs, account for social and cultural needs of different communities, adapt to differing healthcare systems and provide flexibility in approaches to care. Investment in peer support for people living with CHB could increase diagnosis, improve retention in care, and support design and roll out of interventions that can contribute to global elimination goals.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/jvh.13952

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Viral Hepat

Publication Date

26/05/2024

Keywords

advocacy, hepatitis B infection, patient care, peer support, sustainable development goals