1Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, United States.
2Department of Oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center and Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, United States.
3Department of Family Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, United States.
4University of Rochester Medical Center, Wilmot Cancer Center, United States.
5Department of Medicine/Infectious Diseases, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, United States.
6Global Health Initiative, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, United States.
7Medstar Georgetown Transplant Institute, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, United States.
This study examined whether patients with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection adhered to their physicians' recommendation and HCV clinical guidelines for obtaining a regular liver function test (LFT), and whether high-risk behaviors are associated with behavioral adherence. A cross-sectional survey was administered to 101 eligible patients with HCV who were recruited from health centers in New Jersey and Washington, DC. Adherence outcomes were defined as the patients' self-report of two consecutive receipts of LFTs in accordance with their physicians' recommended interval or the clinical guidelines for a LFT within 3-6 months. 67.4% of patients (66/98) reported a receipt of their physicians' recommendation for a LFT. The rate of adherence to physician recommendation was about 70% (46/66), however over 50% (52/101) of patients with HCV did not obtain regular LFTs. 15.8% (16/101) of patients continued to use injection drugs. Patients who used injection drugs had 0.87 (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.13, 95% confidence interval 0.03-0.59) times lower odds adhering to their physician recommendation, relative to non-users. Patients with HIV co-infection had increased odds of adhering to the clinical guidelines (odds ratio 3.41, 95% confidence interval 1.34-8.70) vs. patients who did not report HIV co-infection. Additionally, patients who had received a physician's recommendation had 7.21 times (95% confidence interval of 2.36-22.2) greater odds adhering to the clinical guidelines than those who had not. Overall, promoting HCV patient-provider communication regarding regular LFTs and reduction of risk behaviors is essential for preventing patients from HCV-related liver disease progression.