Portraying persons who inject drugs recently infected with hepatitis C accessing antiviral treatment: a cluster analysis

Hepat Res Treat. 2014;2014:631481. doi: 10.1155/2014/631481. Epub 2014 Oct 1.

Abstract

Objectives. To empirically determine a categorization of people who inject drug (PWIDs) recently infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), in order to identify profiles most likely associated with early HCV treatment uptake. Methods. The study population was composed of HIV-negative PWIDs with a documented recent HCV infection. Eligibility criteria included being 18 years old or over, and having injected drugs in the previous 6 months preceding the estimated date of HCV exposure. Participant classification was carried out using a TwoStep cluster analysis. Results. From September 2007 to December 2011, 76 participants were included in the study. 60 participants were eligible for HCV treatment. Twenty-one participants initiated HCV treatment. The cluster analysis yielded 4 classes: class 1: Lukewarm health seekers dismissing HCV treatment offer; class 2: multisubstance users willing to shake off the hell; class 3: PWIDs unlinked to health service use; class 4: health seeker PWIDs willing to reverse the fate. Conclusion. Profiles generated by our analysis suggest that prior health care utilization, a key element for treatment uptake, differs between older and younger PWIDs. Such profiles could inform the development of targeted strategies to improve health outcomes and reduce HCV infection among PWIDs.