Early identification and linkage to care for people with chronic HBV and HCV infection: The HepTLC initiative
Linkage to care
Point-of-care antibody test (rapid test), Laboratory-based antibody test,Laboratory-based PCR/RNA (confirmatory) test
Objective. In 2012, CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis launched a public health initiative to increase hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection testing for those at risk and to improve linkage to medical care for those infected. We describe testing outcomes of previously unidentified people at risk for HBV and HCV infection and the lessons learned while linking patients to care. Methods. CDC's Hepatitis Testing and Linkage to Care (HepTLC) initiative provided 34 financial awards to U.S. organizations that serve people at risk for viral hepatitis, 25 of which focused on HCV and nine of which focused on HBV. Grantees offered testing and test result notification to people at risk for HBV and/or HCV infection, as well as counseling, referral, and verification or notification of linkage to care for people with positive test results. We entered demographic data, self-reported risk factors, country of origin (for HBV), and testing outcomes into a confidential database. Results. The 34 grantees tested 87,860 people at more than 260 sites in 17 states. Of the 23,144 people tested for HBV, 1,317 (6%) were positive. Of the 64,716 people tested for HCV, 57,570 (89%) received an HCV antibody (anti- HCV) test, of whom 7,580 (13%) tested anti-HCV positive. Of the 4,765 people who received an HCV RNA test, 3,449 (72%) tested positive. Of the 4,766 people who tested positive for either HBV or HCV infection, 2,116 (44%) were linked to care. Conclusion. Interventions targeting people at risk for HBV and HCV infection reached a substantial number of people for whom testing is recommended and identified a large proportion of those who had previously unrecognized infection. Patient navigation was critical for follow-up and linkage to care. Copyright © 2016 Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.