F3. Hepatitis C
Oral Abstract Submission
Background : HCV is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the US with an estimated 3.5 million infected. With direct acting antivirals, cure can be achieved in 8 to 12 weeks. To achieve WHO elimination targets by 2030 (> 90% reduction in incidence) requires increased detection, access to care, and simpler treatment protocols that patients, challenged by substance use and mental health disorders, can readily complete.
Methods : In 2016, Wake County, NC began HCV testing at 32 sites finding prevalence > 10% at 5 shelters and drug treatment centers. An adapted simplified HCV treatment protocol, used in the high prevalence settings of Ukraine and Burma, was implemented at the Open Door Clinic – a free clinic for uninsured persons living in poverty in Wake County. After initially using genotype specific therapy, we switched to pan-genotypic sofosbuvir/velapatisvir (SOF/VEL) for 12 weeks. Clinic visits were limited to pre-treatment and 12 weeks after treatment completion. Patients were contacted weekly via text to check on their health and adherence.
Results : 30 HCV mono-infected patients have initiated treatment including 9 women. 21 were infected by IDU, 5 by transfusion, 3 by sex with an infected partner, and 5 have unknown risk. In genotype (GT) testing 22 have GT1, 3 GT 2, and 4 GT3. Major comorbidities include 24 with current or recent IDU, alcohol dependency, psychotic depression or schizophrenia, or missing all medical appointments other than the HCV. 27 of 30 have completed their prescribed course of HCV therapy and 20 have achieved an SVR at 12 weeks. The 1 patient who failed was admitted to the hospital 4 times in the first 6 weeks of treatment and did not take his medication consistently. An additional 2 remain on treatment and 6 are awaiting results of testing done at 12 weeks post-therapy completion. One patient died within 2 weeks of initiating therapy due to a perforated duodenal ulcer.
Conclusion : Using targeted on-site HCV testing, we identified high prevalence sites. Implementing a simplified HCV treatment program reduces patient and clinic burden and resulted in 95% achieving SVR12 despite severe comorbidities. Expansion of this program to other clinics in Wake County is underway.