HCV point-of-care screening programme and treatment options for people who use drugs in a metropolitan area of Southern Italy


HCV point-of-care screening programme and treatment options for people who use drugs in a metropolitan area of Southern Italy


Persico, M.,Masarone, M.,Aglitti, A.,Armenante, C.,Giordano, A.,Guardiola, A.,Raimondi, G.,Contaldi, C.,Nigro, C.,Marena, G.,De Luna, A.

Liver International


Prospective cohort
HCV testing and linkage to Care
Linkage to care
Screening and diagnosis
Target populations
Persons with substance use disorder
Country of development
Target location
Testing strategy
Point-of-care antibody test (rapid test), Laboratory-based PCR/RNA (confirmatory) test
Point-of-care antibody test (rapid test)
Laboratory-based PCR/RNA (confirmatory) test
Countries of included studies

Health outcomes

Receipt of antibody results,Number new diagnoses,Linkage to care,Loss to follow-up cascade

Testing strategy

Point-of-care antibody test (rapid test), Laboratory-based PCR/RNA (confirmatory) test


Background and aims: People who use drugs (PWUD) represent an active reservoir of HCV infection. The prevalence of chronic HCV infection in PWUD in Italy remains unknown because of the lack of systematic screening. Thanks to direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs), hepatitis C can now be cured in most patients. Thus, the next challenge is to provide linkage-to-care for these patients. Method(s): In this scenario, we conducted a screening programme in PWUD attending seven Addiction Centers in Southern Italy, as well as a treatment programme in the Liver Unit of the University Hospital of Salerno. We used the OraQuick HCV antibody test to screen the PWUD (from 1 April to 30 September 2018). Result(s): 593 subjects were consecutively enrolled in the programme; 250 (41.8%) were HCV-Ab-positive. 143 (24.1%) were aware of their infection and had been HCV-RNA-tested: 83 were positive and 60 negative. The remaining 107 subjects (18.1%) had never previously been tested and were unaware of their infection. A total of 160 (26.9%) HCV RNA-positive patients were found and offered antiviral therapy with DAAs. The sustained virological response rate was 98.5% and no adverse events were recorded. Two patients voluntarily discontinued treatment. No reinfections have been recorded to date. Conclusion(s): The prevalence of HCV-Ab positivity was high in the PWUDs enrolled in this study, and almost half the patients were unaware of being HCV-positive. The linkage-to-care provided was safe and effective, and no case of reinfection was recorded. Copyright © 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Page updated

22 Jan 2021