Abstract

An HCV treatment trial was initiated in September 2019 to address the opioid/hepatitis C virus (HCV) syndemic in rural Kentucky. The focus of the current analysis is on participation in diagnostic screening for the trial. Initial eligibility (≥18 years of age, county resident) was established by phone followed by in-person HCV viremia testing. 900 rural residents met the inclusion criteria and comprised the analytic sample. Generalized linear models were specified to estimate the relative risk of non-attendance at the in-person visit determining HCV eligibility. Approximately one-quarter (22.1%) of scheduled participants were no-shows. People who inject drugs were no more likely than people not injecting drugs to be a no-show; however, participants ≤35 years of age were significantly less likely to attend. While the median time between phone screening and scheduled in-person screening was only 2 days, each additional day increased the odds of no-show by 3% (95% confidence interval: 2%–3%). Finally, unknown HCV status predicted no-show even after adjustment for age, gender, days between screenings and injection status. We found that drug injection did not predict no-show, further justifying expanded access to HCV treatment among people who inject drugs. Those 35 years and younger were more likely to no-show, suggesting that younger individuals may require targeted strategies for increasing testing and treatment uptake. Finally, streamlining the treatment cascade may also improve outcomes, as participants in the current study were more likely to attend if there were fewer days between phone screening and scheduled in-person screening.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • HCV treatment
  • PWID
  • PWUD
  • hepatitis C
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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