- 1St. Joseph's University Medical Center, Paterson, New Jersey, USA.
- 2New York Medical College, New York, New York, USA.
- 3Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
Objectives: To describe a pharmacist-led campaign aimed at reducing the proportion of people with HIV with ongoing chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and delineating barriers to HCV care in this patient population.
Methods: An electronic report and retrospective chart review were used to identify patients who remained with HCV infections after a previous treatment initiative. A clinical pharmacist and pharmacy resident approached the remaining HCV patients during their routine visits for HIV care to offer and coordinate direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment. The primary end-point was to compare the prevalence of chronic HCV before and after the intervention period. Barriers to care were also evaluated, with logistic regression performed to identify predictors of sustained virologic response (SVR) attainment.
Results: Forty-six patients were included in the analysis (4.2% of clinic population), with HCV prevalence falling to 0.6% (six patients) by the end of the study (p < 0.0001). The HCV care cascade in the cohort was as follows: 70% agreed to and received DAA therapy, 63% initiated therapy, and 50% achieved SVR. The top barriers to care at baseline included recreational drug use (67%), poor engagement in care (61%), and mental health disorders (28%). Poor engagement in care and active recreational drug use were associated with decreased odds of achieving SVR in bivariate analysis.
Conclusions: A coordinated effort can make strides towards reducing the overall burden of HCV in this challenging population. The HCV care cascade remains tied to the HIV continuum of care, with poor engagement in care remaining an important rate-limiting step impeding micro-elimination.