Awareness and Epidemiology of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infections in Florida

Emmanuel Thomas, Wei Han Cheng, Douglas E. Dylla, Steven E. Marx, Jana Carabino, Qingqing Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Progress towards achieving hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination in Florida has been hampered by barriers to screening, linkage to care, and treatment. This study aims to describe the HCV care cascade and patient characteristics in Florida. Methods: This analysis combined HCV-related laboratory data and patient characteristics from two, large US laboratory datasets that included individuals tested for HCV antibody (Ab) and HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA) viral load between January 2015 and December 2019. A decline in sequential HCV RNA viral loads was used to impute HCV treatment. Machine-learning algorithms were used to identify cured patients. The actual number of individuals with HCV Ab screening, and the number and percentage of persons who were HCV RNA-positive and treated, were calculated. Results: The number of persons in Florida diagnosed as HCV RNA-positive was 31,659 in 2019. The number of individuals HCV Ab screened in 2019 was 1,024,379, an increase of 82.5% from 2015. The percentage of HCV Ab-positive individuals was 4.1%, demonstrating a 16.2% decrease from 2015. The percentage of HCV RNA-positive patients who were treated was 27.0%, a 10.5% decrease from 2015 to 2019. Conclusion: An Ab positivity rate > 4-times higher than national estimates with increased screening among baby boomers, but decreased screening among younger individuals, suggests risk-based screening is still common practice in Florida, despite universal screening recommendations. Public health efforts to decrease barriers to screening, linkage to care, and treatment are needed to reduce the burden of HCV in Florida and to ensure progress toward virus elimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-462
Number of pages12
JournalInfectious Diseases and Therapy
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Disease eradication
  • Public health
  • Screening
  • Treatment
  • Virus elimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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