Hepatitis C care cascade in HIV patients at an urban clinic in the early direct-acting antiviral era

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International Journal of STD and AIDS


Guidelines advocate universal, prompt treatment of hepatitis C (HCV) infection in HIV/HCV co-infected patients, but barriers to uptake of HCV direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) remain unclear in this population. This retrospective study investigated the care cascade from HCV diagnosis to sustained virologic response (SVR) at an urban infectious disease clinic in Saint Louis, Missouri during the first 18 months of interferon-free DAA availability in the United States. Of 1949 HIV patients seen in clinic, 91.9% were screened for HCV and 5.4% (n = 106) had chronic HCV infection with follow-up. Of these 106 co-infected patients, 100 underwent fibrosis testing, 55 were offered DAAs, 38 completed treatment, and 37 achieved SVR. Delayed DAA treatment was associated with no insurance, substance abuse, poor HIV control, and younger age. Providers delayed DAA treatment most commonly for substance abuse, psychiatric disease, and uncontrolled HIV. Mean time to insurance decision from initial prescription was 20.9 ± 29.6 days and mean time to final decision was 29.9 ± 40.1 days. DAAs are highly successful in co-infected patients in this early period but insurance delays and misconceptions from the interferon era can ultimately limit uptake. Addressing these factors in a comprehensive treatment model may bridge disparities and improve real-world SVRs.

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