PUSH (Prevalence study on the Use of Substances in relation with Hepatitis C)

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Data about the number of people who inject drugs (PWIDs) in Belgium is until now based on the multiplier method and data from the HIV register (Bollaerts et al. 2013). The results are a very rough estimate that is generally considered rather unreliable. According to this method, at the moment there are an estimated 23.000 PWIDs living in Belgium (EMCDDA 2017). The number of high risk opiate users (HROU) in Belgium is unknown.

Also HCV prevalence figures for people who use drugs, and more specifically among PWIDs and HROUs, are rare. Particularly with the increased efficacy of new medication (i.e. the availability of direct-acting antivirals (DAA) with sustained viral response (SVR) ≥ 95%) and the changes in the Belgian reimbursement policy (where since January 2017 treatment of patients with liver fibrosis stage ≥ F2 is reimbursed within the health care system), it is important to get reliable baseline figures.

This pilot project tests in Brussels a method for the prevalence estimation of PWIDs, HROUs and HCV among PWIDs and HROUs that can later be used on a national level.

The specific objectives are:

- to estimate the prevalence of PWIDs in Brussels

- to estimate the prevalence of HROUs in Brussels

- to estimate the proportion of PWIDs and HROUs who is HCV positive.

- to evaluate the proposed methodology as a tool to estimate PWIDs, HROUs and HCV prevalence among PWIDs and HROUs in Belgium


People who inject drugs (PWID) and High Risk Opiate Users (HROU) in Brussels


Van Baelen L, Plettinckx E, Antoine J, Gremeaux L. Prevalence of HCV among people who inject drugs in Brussels-a respondent-driven sampling survey. Harm Reduct J. 2020 Feb 21;17(1):11. doi: 10.1186/s12954-020-00358-3. PMID: 32085742; PMCID: PMC7035658.


Els Plettinckx

Algemene info


Startdatum 01/01/2019
Einddatum 31/12/2019


Pretest / ontwikkeling instrument of methodiek
Registratieonderzoek / monitoring

Gefinancierd door

Eigen middelen + andere organisaties


Epidemiologisch onderzoek





Datum laatste wijziging: 10/08/2021
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