Eighteen- to 30-year-olds more likely to link to hepatitis C virus care: An opportunity to decrease transmission
Linkage to care
Laboratory-based antibody test,Laboratory-based PCR/RNA (confirmatory) test
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection incidence among 18- to 30-year-olds is sincreasing and guidelines recommend treatment of active injection drug users to limit transmission. We aimed to: measure linkage to HCV care among 18- to 30-year-olds and identify factors associated with linkage; compare linkage among 18- to 30-year-olds to that of patients >30 years. We used the electronic medical record at an urban safety net hospital to create a retrospective cohort with reactive HCV antibody between 2005 and 2010. We report seroprevalence and demographics of seropositive patients, and used multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with linkage to HCV care. We defined linkage as having evidence of HCV RNA testing after reactive antibody. Thirty two thousand four hundred and eighteen individuals were tested, including 8873 between 18 and 30 years. The seropositivity rate among those ages 18-30 was 10%. In multivariate analysis, among those 18-30, diagnosis location (Outpatient vs Inpatient/ED) (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.28-2.49) and number of visits after diagnosis (OR 5.30, 95% CI 3.91-7.19) were associated with higher odds of linking to care. When we compared linkage in patients ages 18-30 to that among those older than 30, patients in the 18-30 years age group were more likely to link to HCV care than those in the older cohort even when controlling for gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, birthplace, diagnosis location and duration of follow-up. Eighteen- to 30-year-olds are more likely to link to HCV care than their older counterparts. During the interferon-free treatment era, there is an opportunity to prevent further HCV transmission in this population. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.