Sex, ethnicity drive disparities in successful linkage to HCV care
SAN ANTONIO — Researchers observed sex-specific and ethnicity-specific disparities in successful linkage to care for chronic hepatitis C, including poor health literacy, lack of insurance, and fear of stigma that ultimately lowers screening and treatment rates, according to data presented at the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting.
“These results confirm that disparities exist within the HCV care cascade,” Chantal Gomes, DO, from Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease.
“In an effort to eliminate HCV, these disparities need to be addressed. It will be difficult to identify the exact cause of these disparities but knowing they exist and targeting ethnically diverse safety net populations with increased screening, HCV education and linkage to care are ideas.”
Between 2014 and 2018, researchers observed 54,173 individuals who underwent HCV Ab testing and noted that during this period, the percentage of patients with both positive HCV Ab and HCV RNA tests decreased from 74% to 44%. They also reported that rates were higher among men than women (58% vs. 44%; P < .001).
Successful linkage to care was most successful among women than men (38.3% vs. 30.6%; P = .034) and Asian (66.7%) and African American patients (33.3), compared with white patients (27.4%) and other ethnicities (27.1%; P = .003).
“We hope that these results lead to increased screening, awareness and education on HCV, especially within the safety net population, in an effort to enhance progression through the HCV care cascade,” Gomes said.
Gomes C, et al. Abstract 14. Presented at: American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting; Oct. 25-30, 2019; San Antonio.
Disclosure: Gomes reports no relevant financial disclosures.