Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an infection of the liver, which contributes to over 15,000 deaths in the United States annually. When treated, HCV has a 90% or greater cure rate, however testing for HCV remains low.
Objectives: To assess patient perspectives on HCV screenings in the community pharmacy setting including awareness of screening, willingness to be screened, barriers to screening, and willingness to pay for HCV screening.
Methods: This study used a cross-sectional survey design. The surveys were distributed by staff at an independent community pharmacy participating in an HCV screening initiative through the state department of public health. Eligible patients were born between 1945 and 1965. Descriptive statistics were calculated for survey variables. Open-ended responses were analyzed for additional context.
Results: Fifty-seven surveys were returned and analyzed. The majority of the respondents were White (94%), female (56%), and had some college education (26%). Only 7% were aware that a finger-stick point-of-care test was available and 67% were unaware of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation for testing. The most frequently reported barrier or hesitation to screening was the patient not thinking they were at risk (29%) followed by uncertainty about cost (14%). Over half of respondents (63%) were either somewhat interested or very interested in testing in a community pharmacy, however, the majority (71%) were not willing to pay or only willing to pay less than $20.
Conclusions: Survey respondents were largely unaware of the recommendations and availability of finger-stick HCV screenings at community pharmacies but many were willing to be tested if low-cost. Providing patient education on the importance of HCV screenings and CDC recommendations may bolster interest in screening.