Preference, acceptability and implications of the rapid hepatitis C screening test among high-risk young people who inject drugs
Receipt of antibody results,Linkage to care
,Point-of-care antibody test (rapid test), Laboratory-based antibody test,Laboratory-based PCR/RNA (confirmatory) test
BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs (PWID) are at highest risk for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, yet many remain unaware of their infection status. New anti-HCV rapid testing has high potential to impact this.
METHODS: Young adult (<30 years) active PWID were offered either the rapid OraQuick R or standard anti-HCV test involving phlebotomy, then asked to complete a short questionnaire about testing perceptions and preferences. Sample characteristics, service utilization, and injection risk exposures are assessed with the HCV testing choice as the outcome, testing preferences, and reasons for preference.
RESULTS: Of 129 participants: 82.9% (n = 107) chose the rapid test. There were no significant differences between those who chose rapid vs. standard testing. A majority (60.2%) chose the rapid test for quick results; most (60.9%) felt the rapid test was accurate, and less painful (53.3%) than the tests involving venipuncture.
CONCLUSIONS: OraQuick R anti-HCV rapid test was widely accepted among young PWID. Our results substantiate the valuable potential of anti-HCV rapid testing for HCV screening in this high risk population.