Has Access to Hepatitis C Virus Therapy Changed for Patients With Mental Health or Substance Use Disorders in the Direct-Acting-Antiviral Period?

Hepatology. 2019 Jan;69(1):51-63. doi: 10.1002/hep.30171. Epub 2018 Dec 18.


Direct-acting antivirals (DAA) for hepatitis C virus (HCV) became available in 2014, but the role of mental health or substance use disorders (MH/SUD) on access to treatment is unknown. The objective of this study was to examine the extent and predictors of HCV treatment in the pre-DAA and post-DAA periods in four large, diverse health care settings in the United States. We conducted a retrospective analysis of 29,544 adults with chronic HCV who did or did not receive treatment from January 1, 2011, to February 28, 2017. Kaplan-Meier curve was used to examine cumulative risk for receiving HCV treatment stratified by MH/SUD. Predictors of HCV treatment in the pre-DAA (January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2013) and post-DAA (January 1, 2014, to February 28, 2017) cohorts were analyzed using multivariate generalized estimating equations and a modified Poisson model. Overall, 21.7% (2,879/13,240) of those with chronic HCV post-DAA were treated compared with 3.5% (574/16,304) in the pre-DAA period. Compared with non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic whites (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25, 0.52) were less likely to be treated in the post-DAA period. Those with concurrent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (AOR 1.39; 95% CI, 1.05, 1.83), cirrhosis (AOR 2.00; 95% CI, 1.74, 2.31), and liver transplant (AOR 2.72; 95% CI, 1.87, 3.94) were more likely to be treated post-DAA. Those with MH/SUD were less likely to be treated both before (AOR 0.46; 95% CI, 0.36, 0.60) and after (AOR 0.63; 95% CI, 0.55, 0.71) DAA therapy was available. Overall, the cumulative risk for receiving HCV treatment from 2011 to 2017 among those with versus without MH/SUD was 13.6% versus 21.6%, respectively (P < 0.001). Conclusion: The volume of patients treated for HCV has increased in the post-DAA period, especially among those with liver-related comorbidities, but disparities in access to treatment continue among those with MH/SUD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Antiviral Agents