Inscription

Low hepatitis C virus-viremia prevalence yet continued barriers to direct-acting antiviral treatment in people living with HIV in the Netherlands

Objective

To describe hepatitis C virus (HCV)-viremia prevalence and barriers to direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment during unrestricted access to DAA in a nationwide cohort of people with HIV (PWH).

Design

Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data.

Methods

We calculated yearly HCV-viremia prevalence as proportion of HCV RNA-positive individuals ever HCV-tested. We then included HCV-viremic individuals with ≥1 visit during the era of universal DAA-access (database lock = December 31, 2018). Based on their last visit, individuals were grouped as DAA-treated or -untreated. Variables associated with lack of DAA-treatment were assessed using targeted maximum likelihood estimation. In November 2020, physicians of DAA-untreated individuals completed a questionnaire on barriers to DAA-uptake and onward HCV-transmission risk.

Results

Among 25 196 PWH, HCV-viremia decreased from 4% to 5% between 2000 and 2014 to 0.6% in 2019. Being DAA-untreated was associated with HIV-transmission route other than men who have sex with men, older age, infrequent follow-up, severe alcohol use, detectable HIV-RNA, HCV-genotype 3, and larger hospital size. With universal DAA-access, 72 of 979 HCV-viremic individuals remained DAA-untreated at their last visit. Of these, 39 were no longer in care, 27 remained DAA-untreated in care, and six initiated DAA since database lock. Most common physician-reported barriers to DAA-uptake were patient refusal (20/72, 28%) and infrequent visit attendance (19/72, 26%). Only one DAA-untreated individual in care was engaging in activities associated with onward HCV-transmission.

Conclusions

Prevalence of HCV-viremic PWH is low in the Netherlands, coinciding with widespread DAA-uptake. Barriers to DAA-uptake appear mostly patient-related, while HCV-transmission seems unlikely from the few DAA-untreated in care.

Auteur(s) : Isfordink. C. J., & al.