- 1364931 New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Communicable Disease, Division of Disease Control, Viral Hepatitis Program, Queens, NY, USA.
Objectives: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a serious health problem in New York City. Although curative treatments are available, many people are out of care. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) used surveillance data and various outreach methods to attempt to link to care people diagnosed with HCV infection from 2010 through 2015.
Methods: We randomly assigned people out of care (ie, no HCV test >6 months after first report) to 4 outreach groups: no outreach (control group); letter only; letter and telephone call; and letter, text message, and telephone call. Three months after outreach ended, we analyzed surveillance data to identify people with a subsequent HCV RNA or genotype test suggesting linkage to care.
Results: Of 2626 selected people, 199 (7.6%) had a subsequent HCV test. People in all 3 outreach groups had higher odds of a subsequent test than people in the control group (letter only: adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.81 [95% CI, 1.18-2.91]; letter and telephone: aOR = 3.11 [95% CI, 1.67-5.79]; letter, text, and telephone: aOR = 3.17 [95% CI, 1.48-6.51]). People in the letter and telephone group had higher odds of a subsequent test than people in the letter-only group (aOR = 1.72; 95% CI, 1.04-2.74). Most people in the letter and telephone (136/200, 68.0%) and the letter, text, and telephone (71/99, 71.7%) groups could not be reached, primarily because telephone numbers were incorrect or out of service.
Conclusion: Reaching out to people soon after first report or prioritizing groups in which more recent contact information can be found might improve outcomes of future outreach.