1University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) care cascade has been well characterized in the general United States population and other subpopulations since curative medications have been available. However, information is limited on care cascade outcomes in persons experiencing homelessness. The main objective of this study was to map the available evidence on HCV care cascade outcomes in people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. in the era of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs). Primary and secondary outcomes included linkage to care (evaluation by a provider that can treat HCV) and sustained virologic response (SVR) or cure. Exploratory outcomes included other cascade data, like treatment initiation, which precedes SVR. PubMed was the primary database accessed for this scoping review. We characterized the HCV care cascade in people experiencing homelessness using sources of evidence published in 2014 onwards that reported the proportions of persons who were linked to care, achieved SVR, and completed other cascade steps. We synthesized our results into a scoping review. The proportion of persons linked to care among chronically infected cohorts with unstable housing ranged from 29.3% to 88.7%. Among those chronically infected, 5%-58.8% were started on DAAs and 5%-50% achieved SVR. In conclusion, these results show that persons experiencing homelessness achieve high rates of linkage to care in non-specialist community-based settings compared to the general U.S. population pre-DAAs. However, DAA initiation was found to be a rate-limiting step along the care cascade, resulting in commensurate low rates of cure.