Life (2020-12-01)

Screening, Linkage to Care and Treatment of Hepatitis C Infection in Primary Care Setting in the South of Italy

  • Anna Citarella,
  • Simona Cammarota,
  • Francesca F. Bernardi,
  • Carmine Coppola,
  • Maria D’Antò,
  • Marianna Fogliasecca,
  • Elio Giusto,
  • Mario Masarone,
  • Angelo Salomone Megna,
  • Carmine Sellitto,
  • Rosa Servodio,
  • Massimo Smaldone,
  • Laura Staiano,
  • Ugo Trama,
  • Valeria Conti,
  • Marcello Persico

DOI
https://doi.org/10.3390/life10120359
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 359
p. 359

Abstract

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains a pressing public health issue. Our aim is to assess the linkage to care of patients with HCV diagnosis and to support the proactive case-finding of new HCV-infected patients in an Italian primary care setting. This was a retrospective cohort study of 44 general practitioners (GPs) who managed 63,955 inhabitants in the Campania region. Adults with already known HCV diagnosis or those with HCV high-risk profile at June 2019 were identified and reviewed by GPs to identify newly diagnosed of HCV and to assess the linkage to care and treatment for the HCV patients. Overall, 698 HCV patients were identified, 596 with already known HCV diagnosis and 102 identified by testing the high-risk group (2614 subjects). The 38.8% were already treated with direct-acting antivirals, 18.9% were referred to the specialist center and 42.3% were not sent to specialist care for treatment. Similar proportions were found for patients with an already known HCV diagnosis and those newly diagnosed. Given that the HCV infection is often silent, case-finding needs to be proactive and based on risk information. Our findings suggested that there needs to be greater outreach, awareness and education among GPs in order to enhance HCV testing, linkage to care and treatment.

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