Ongoing Gaps in the Hepatitis C Care Cascade during the Direct-Acting Antiviral Era in a Large Retrospective Cohort in Canada: A Population-Based Study

Viruses. 2024 Mar 1;16(3):389. doi: 10.3390/v16030389.

Abstract

To achieve hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination, high uptake along the care cascade steps for all will be necessary. We mapped engagement with the care cascade overall and among priority groups in the post-direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) period and assessed if this changed relative to pre-DAAs. We created a population-based cohort of all reported HCV diagnoses in Quebec (1990-2018) and constructed the care cascade [antibody diagnosed, RNA tested, RNA positive, genotyped, treated, sustained virologic response (SVR)] in 2013 and 2018. Characteristics associated with RNA testing and treatment initiation were investigated using marginal logistic models via generalized estimating equations. Of the 31,439 individuals HCV-diagnosed in Quebec since 1990 and alive as of 2018, there was significant progress in engagement with the care cascade post- vs. pre-DAAs; 86% vs. 77% were RNA-tested, and 64% vs. 40% initiated treatment. As of 2018, a higher risk of not being RNA-tested or treated was observed among individuals born <1945 vs. >1965 [hazard ratio (HR); 95% CI; 1.35 (1.16-1.57)], those with material and social deprivation [1.21 (1.06-1.38)], and those with alcohol use disorder [1.21 (1.08-1.360]. Overall, non-immigrants had lower rates of RNA testing [0.76 (0.67-0.85)] and treatment initiation [0.63 (0.57-0.70)] than immigrants. As of 2018, PWID had a lower risk of not being RNA tested [0.67 (0.61-0.85)] but a similar risk of not being treated, compared to non-PWID. Engagement in the HCV care cascade have improved in the post-DAA era, but inequities remain. Vulnerable subgroups, including certain older immigrants, were less likely to have received RNA testing or treatment as of 2018 and would benefit from focused interventions to strengthen these steps.

Keywords: birth cohort; care cascade; hepatitis C; immigrants; people who inject drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepatitis C* / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C* / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C* / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • RNA
  • Retrospective Studies

Substances

  • Antiviral Agents
  • RNA

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