Using HIV lessons to treat hepatitis C

A new study shows how public health strategies aimed at improving HIV treatment outcomes can be used to better care for patients infected with hepatitis C, another virus. Hepatitis C is a fatal blood-borne disease that causes inflammation and scarring of the liver. The disease affects 58 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has set a goal of curing 80% of diagnosed chronic cases by 2030 using currently available highly active drugs.

Previously, doctors and researchers have visualized challenges in HIV care by applying a “treatment cascade” to track patient data at different stages of HIV diagnosis, participation in clinical care, and receipt of medications. A team of physician-researchers at Yale School of Medicine, working with the Connecticut Department of Health, created a similar hepatitis C treatment cascade, drawing on lessons learned from caring for HIV patients. The study analyzed data from 1,496 patients who received treatment at 11 clinics in Connecticut. Living with both HIV and hepatitis C.

The team found that by using cascade therapy, participating clinics successfully cured 73% of their patients, approaching the World Health Organization’s 80% cure target. They also identified factors associated with the likelihood of initiating treatment, noting that women and patients with poorly controlled HIV were less likely to initiate hepatitis C treatment than the overall clinic HIV/HCV co-infected population. The authors claim that implementing this tracking method could allow clinics to understand specific barriers to treatment and help close these gaps.

To learn more, read the article: “Using a data-to-care approach to create longitudinal HCV care cascades for people with HIV/HCV co-infection in selected HIV clinics”

Brooks R, Wegner M, Spears S, et al. Use a data-to-care approach to create a longitudinal HCV care cascade for people with HIV/HCV co-infection in selected HIV clinics. Health Promotion Practice. 2023;0(0). Number: 10.1177/15248399231169792

Submitted by Julie Parry on September 14, 2023

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