Publications & Reports

Hepatitis C incidence among patients attending primary care health services that specialise in the care of people who inject drugs, Victoria, Australia, 2009 to 2020.

Wilkinson AL, van Santen DK, Traeger MW, Sacks-Davis R, Asselin J, Scott N, Harney BL, Doyle JS, El-Hayek C, Howell J, Bramwell F, McManus H, Donovan B, Stoové M, Hellard M, Pedrana A
Disease Elimination Program, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia; School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address: [email protected]


BACKGROUND: Monitoring trends in hepatitis C virus (HCV) incidence is critical for evaluating strategies aimed at eliminating HCV as a public health threat. We estimate HCV incidence and assess trends in incidence over time among primary care patients. METHODS: Data were routinely extracted, linked electronic medical records from 12 primary care health services. Patients included were aged >/=16 years, tested HCV antibody negative on their first test recorded and had at least one subsequent HCV antibody or RNA test (January 2009-December 2020). HCV incident infections were defined as a positive HCV antibody or RNA test. A generalised linear model assessed the association between HCV incidence and calendar year. RESULTS: In total, 6711 patients contributed 17,098 HCV test records, 210 incident HCV infections and 19,566 person-years; incidence was 1.1 per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.9 to 1.2). Among 559 (8.2%) patients ever prescribed opioid-related pharmacotherapy (ORP) during the observation period, 135 infections occurred during 2,082 person-years (incidence rate of 6.5 per 100 person-years (95% CI: 5.4 to 7.7)). HCV incidence declined 2009-2020 overall (incidence rate ratio per calendar year 0.8 (95% CI: 0.8 to 0.9) and among patients ever prescribed ORT (incidence rate ratio per calendar year 0.9, 95% CI: 0.75 to 1.0). CONCLUSION: HCV incidence declined among patients at primary care health services including among patients ever prescribed ORP and during the period following increased access to DAA therapy. SUMMARY: Among a retrospective cohort of approximately 6,700 primary care health services patients, this study estimated a hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection incidence of 1.1 per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval: 0.9 to 1.2). HCV infection incidence declined between 2009 and 2020.

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