1 School of Medicine and Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
2 Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
3 Department of Pharmacy, Grady Health System, Atlanta, GA, USA.
4 Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
5 Department of Population Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
OBJECTIVES: We compared outcomes of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) cure cascade (ie, the path a patient follows from diagnosis to cure), including antiviral treatment outcomes, from 2 HCV screening programs. Our objective was to assess whether treatment uptake and HCV cure rates improved in the cohort screened after the release of all-oral HCV direct-acting antiviral therapies.
METHODS: We retrospectively compared outcomes of the HCV cure cascade from a cohort of newly diagnosed patients screened during 2012-2014 (period 1) with outcomes from a cohort of newly diagnosed patients screened during 2015-2016 (period 2) at Grady Health System in Atlanta, Georgia. Cure cascade outcomes included HCV antibody (anti-HCV) and RNA testing, linkage to care, antiviral treatment, and sustained virologic response.
RESULTS: During period 1, 412 of 5274 (7.8%) persons screened were anti-HCV positive, and 264 (69.3%) of those tested were RNA positive. During period 2, 462 of 7137 (6.5%) persons screened were anti-HCV positive, and 240 (59.3%) of those tested were RNA positive (P = .003). The percentage of newly diagnosed patients who were treated during period 2 (64.0%) was 3 times that of newly diagnosed patients treated during period 1 (21.2%; P < .001). Both cohorts had similarly high levels of linkage to care (95.8% during period 1, 95.4% during period 2) and cure (92.6% during period 1, 95.5% during period 2).
CONCLUSIONS: Over time, the prevalence of anti-HCV and HCV RNA positivity declined substantially, and linkage-to-care and cure rates remained high. Treatment uptake increased significantly after the introduction of all-oral direct-acting antiviral therapy. These findings suggest that combining large-scale screening initiatives with treatment programs can speed progress toward HCV elimination.