1Department of Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
2Department of Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; Institute of Pharmacy, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore, Pakistan.
3Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
4Department of Medicine, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida.
5Department of Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; Center for Drug Evaluation and Safety, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introduction: The hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemic remains a public health problem worldwide. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to provide evidence of outcomes attained across the HCV care cascade in the era of direct-acting antivirals.
Methods: Studies from North America, Europe, and Australia (January 2014 through March 2021) reporting on HCV care cascade outcomes (screening to cure) were included. When calculating the proportions of individuals completing each step, the numerator for Steps 1-8 was the number of individuals completing each step; the denominator was the number of individuals completing the previous step for Steps 1-3 and Step 3 for Steps 4-8. In 2022, random effects meta-analyses were conducted to estimate pooled proportions with 95% CIs.
Results: Sixty-five studies comprising 7,402,185 individuals were identified. Among individuals with positive HCV ribonucleic acid test results, 62% (95% CI=55%, 70%) attended their first care appointment, 41% (95% CI=37%, 45%) initiated treatment, 38% (95% CI=29%, 48%) completed treatment, and 29% (95% CI=25%, 33%) achieved cure. HCV screening rates were 43% (95% CI=22%, 66%) in prisons or jails and 20% (95% CI=11%, 31%) in emergency departments. Linkage to care rates were 62% (95% CI=46%, 75%) for homeless individuals and 26% (95% CI=22%, 31%) for individuals diagnosed in emergency departments. Cure rates were 51% (95% CI=30%, 73%) in individuals with substance use disorder and 17% (95% CI=17%, 17%) in homeless individuals. Cure rates were lowest in the U.S.
Discussion: Despite the availability of effective all-oral direct-acting antiviral therapies, persistent gaps remain across the HCV care cascade, especially among traditionally marginalized populations. Public health interventions targeting identified priority areas (e.g., emergency departments) may improve screening and healthcare retention of vulnerable populations with HCV infection (e.g., substance use disorder populations).