HCV is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recently recommended 'Birth Cohort Screening' of the U.S. Adult population to reduce the future burden of undiagnosed HCV infections in the U.S. Our aim was to assess independent predictors of receiving treatment in a cohort of HCV-infected patients. The Hepatitis C follow-up questionnaires of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) conducted from 2001 to 2010 were used. The NHANES participants who tested positive for HCV RNA were followed by CDC 6 months after initial testing with questions related to their awareness of their infection and history or intention to receive treatment. A total of 500 NHANES participants tested positive for HCV RNA and were targeted for follow-up. Of these, only 203 had completed the follow-up questionnaire (response rate of 40.6%). Of these, only 101 (50%) knew about their HCV positivity before NHANES, and from them, only 34 (17%) had received treatment. In multivariate analysis, prior knowledge about their HCV infection in HCV-positive individuals was independently associated with receiving routine care from a doctor or HMO, with higher income, female gender, being in poor or fair health and not consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. On the other hand, the knowledge about HCV infection was the only independent predictor of receiving anti-HCV treatment (odds ratio 6.14). Knowledge about having HCV infection is the only independent predictor of receiving treatment. Therefore, birth cohort screening of the U.S. General population could lead to wider identification of HCV and potentially better management of the future burden of HCV and its complications.
Keywords: HCV; knowledge; treatment predictors.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.