Ms. Arnold, Ms. Ahmadizadeh, and Ms. Potts are with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore. Ms. Machover is with the Johns Hopkins School of Education, Baltimore. Ms. Wall is with the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Dr. Himelhoch is with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington.
Despite possible cure rates of >90% with new treatment, people with serious mental illness are rarely screened for hepatitis C virus (HCV). A colocated approach may help patients navigate the care continuum.
This study used a mixed-methods approach to increase understanding of the HCV care continuum for people with mental illness (N=170). Quantitative data included laboratory testing, risk assessments, and chart reviews. Qualitative interviews (N=9) were conducted to gain a broader understanding.
Thirty-one (18%) patients tested positive for HCV; 13 were cured of HCV, and 10 are still receiving treatment. Qualitative interviews revealed that fear of the diagnosis may be an important treatment barrier.
Those with serious mental illness who were diagnosed as having HCV and received the colocated prevention and treatment program were able to navigate the continuum of care for HCV treatment. Fear of diagnosis may be an important consideration for future efforts.