Patients aged 18 to 30 years with hepatitis C virus infection were more likely to be linked to treatment for the infection compared with older patients, according to results from a retrospective cohort study conducted at Boston Medical Center.
“Developing a successful treatment strategy requires an understanding of the cascade of HCV care among those under age 30 … less is known about linkage to care and HCV therapy specifically among youth,” Sabrina A. Assoumou, MD, MPH, assistant professor, department of medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. “Our study showed that at an urban safety net hospital with a large underserved population, screening for HCV among 18- to 30-year-olds yielded a very high case identification rate.”
The researchers analyzed data of 32,418 individuals tested for HCV at Boston Medical Center between January 2005 and December 2010. Of these, 5,140 were positive for HCV antibody and 863 were aged between 18 and 30 years (mean age, 25 years).
The main outcome of the study was to determine linkage to care, which was defined as HCV RNA testing after identification of reactive serum HCV antibody, according to the research.
The seropositivity rate among patients aged 18 to 30 years was 10%. Multivariate analysis using this group of patients showed that diagnosis location — whether it was outpatient or inpatient (OR = 1.78; 95% CI, 1.28–2.49) — and number of visits after diagnosis (OR = 5.3; 95% CI, 3.91–7.19) were associated with increased odds of linking to care.
When comparing linkage in patients aged between 18 and 30 years with patients older than 30 years, patients in the younger age group were more likely to link to HCV care, even when controlling for sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, birthplace, diagnosis location and duration of follow-up.
The researchers concluded: “These findings suggest that during the interferon-free era of HCV treatment, there is an opportunity to decrease further HCV transmission by focusing on this young population that appears to initiate HCV-related care at a higher rate when compared to older individuals.” – by Melinda Stevens
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.