Meeting the Challenge: Hepatitis C Virus and HIV Care Experiences Among HIV Specialty Providers

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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is frequently comorbid with HIV infection and is independently associated with a significant increase in all-cause mortality among HIV-positive adults. HIV specialists' role and experiences in treating HCV has been understudied, especially among those providers who actively treat patients with HCV. We conducted a brief online survey of HIV specialists (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and prescribing pharmacists) who treat patients with HCV to examine their experiences with treating these patients (HCV monoinfected, HIV/HCV coinfected). Survey questions assessed providers' annual caseloads, barriers, and facilitators to providing HCV care, likelihood of providing HCV treatment to patients with various risk factors, and the extent to which their HCV screening practices aligned with CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines for patients from various risk groups. A total of 168 HIV care providers were included in analyses. Nearly all specialists surveyed actively treated HIV/HCV coinfected patients, while fewer treated any HCV monoinfected patients. Providers' screening practices typically aligned with guidelines across patient groups, but their likelihood of prescribing HCV treatment to patients varied across patients' risk profiles. Providers endorsed high levels of knowledge to treat HCV-infected patients, but highlighted key barriers to providing optimal care. Given that HIV specialists are an active group treating patients with HCV, they may benefit from specialized guidance on managing HCV in patients with complex histories, including comorbid HIV infection.

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