Objective: Early benefits and adverse effects of hepatitis C screening among people who screened anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) positive were investigated.
Methods: Hepatitis screening program records were abstracted to identify the target population and obtain information about hepatitis A and B vaccination (recommended vaccines if anti-HCV positive). Telephone interviews were conducted using a standardized questionnaire with items regarding clients' medical evaluation, behaviors to prevent liver damage and prevent HCV transmission, and adverse effects experienced.
Results and conclusions: Of 269 eligible clients, 147 were susceptible to hepatitis A (IgG negative), and 116 (78.9%) received at least 1 hepatitis A vaccine dose. Of 119 clients susceptible to hepatitis B, 101 (84.9%) received at least one dose of hepatitis B vaccine. Fifty-six (20.8%) were reached by phone, and 44 (78.6%) consented to the interview. All interviewed clients reported one or more positive behaviors to protect their liver or prevent HCV transmission; 51.2 percent reported at least one adverse effect related to knowing their positive anti-HCV status, most commonly difficulty obtaining health insurance; and 86.0 percent reported satisfaction with their decision to be tested. Results suggest that most anti-HCV-positive clients had some benefit from screening, and highlight the need for further studies.