The Role of Screening and Treatment in National Progress Toward Hepatitis C Elimination - Georgia, 2015-2016
Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 66
Linkage to care
Point-of-care antibody test (rapid test), Laboratory-based antibody test
Georgia, a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, has a high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. In April 2015, with technical assistance from CDC, Georgia embarked on the world's first program to eliminate hepatitis C, defined as a 90% reduction in HCV prevalence by 2020 (1,2). The country committed to identifying infected persons and linking them to care and curative antiviral therapy, which was provided free of charge through a partnership with Gilead Sciences (1,2). From April 2015 through December 2016, a total of 27,595 persons initiated treatment for HCV infection, among whom 19,778 (71.7%) completed treatment. Among 6,366 persons tested for HCV RNA >=12 weeks after completing treatment, 5,356 (84.1%) had no detectable virus in their blood, indicative of a sustained virologic response (SVR) and cure of HCV infection. The number of persons initiating treatment peaked in September 2016 at 4,595 and declined during October-December. Broader implementation of interventions that increase access to HCV testing, care, and treatment for persons living with HCV are needed for Georgia to reach national targets for the elimination of HCV.