Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2021; 25 (19): 5913-5921

DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_202110_26867

Hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment in people who use drugs: mind the gap in the linkage to care

C. Taibi, I. Luzzitelli, U. Visco Comandini, E. Girardi, G. Monacelli, L.M. Rapisarda, A.R. Garbuglia, C. Minosse, V. Guarrasi, L. Vincenzi, F. Iacomi, G. D’Offizi

Hepatology and Infectious Diseases Department, National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani” IRCCS, Rome, Italy. chiara.taibi@inmi.it


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to identify a simplified rapid screening and linkage-to-care model for HCV among PWUD.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study stems from a collaborative project bringing together two local Italian Centers for Drug Addiction and the Hepatology-Infectious Diseases Department of Lazzaro Spallanzani. A research physician analyzed the available medical records seeking to identify HCV and HIV infected patients in care in the addiction centers. Between March 2018 and January 2020 subjects were selected from among a cohort of 720 PWUD in the two Centers’ care. The study comprises three steps: first, screening for HCVAb; second, the linkage to care; third, clinical assessment to treatment. The research physician recruited patients for the first two steps directly in their local addiction center. The third step was conducted in the Spallanzani. The characteristics of those subjects who adhered to the three-step study program were then compared to those of the non-adhering PWUD.

RESULTS: 194 were known HCVAb positive patients. Of the 505 PWUD in the care of the two Centers eligible for screening, 364 were enrolled in the study. 144 resulted HCVAb positive. 269 were tested for HCVRNA. 101 underwent a full assessment. 96 patients started antiviral therapy with DAA. Patients who refused first step screening were older patients and mainly heroin users; in the second step, almost all the HIV/HCV co-infected patients agreed to a viremia test; in the third step all the HIV/HCV co-infected patients refused HCV treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests an on-site specialist approach conducted directly in the addiction centers themselves starting from screening; it can bring the goal of HCV PWUD microelimination closer.

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C. Taibi, I. Luzzitelli, U. Visco Comandini, E. Girardi, G. Monacelli, L.M. Rapisarda, A.R. Garbuglia, C. Minosse, V. Guarrasi, L. Vincenzi, F. Iacomi, G. D’Offizi
Hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment in people who use drugs: mind the gap in the linkage to care

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2021
Vol. 25 - N. 19
Pages: 5913-5921
DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_202110_26867