No Differences in Achieving Hepatitis C Virus Care Milestones Between Patients Identified by Birth Cohort or Risk-Based Screening

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Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

National hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening guidelines recommended 1-time testing of persons born between 1945 and 1965.

METHODS:

We performed a retrospective study to compare care milestones achieved by HCV-infected patients identified by birth cohort versus risk-based screens.

RESULTS:

We determined the proportions of patients newly identified with HCV infection who met care milestones (viral load, referral to and evaluation by a specialist, offer of treatment, initiation of treatment, and sustained viral response) and the time it took to reach them. We found no differences in HCV care milestones for patients identified via birth cohort testing versus risk-based screening. Overall, only 43% of HCV antibody-positive patients were referred to care, and less than 4% started treatment. The time to each care milestone was lengthy and varied greatly; treatment was initiated in a median of 308 days.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although birth cohort testing will likely increase identification of patients with HCV infection, it does not seem to increase the number of patients that meet management milestones. New methods are needed to increase access to care and establish efficient models of health care delivery.

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