Treatment guidelines recommend all HIV/HCV-co-infected persons be considered for hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, yet obstacles to testing and accessing treatment for HCV continue for women.
To assess awareness of HCV, and describe diagnostic referrals and HCV treatment among women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Prospective epidemiologic cohort.
Of 3,768 HIV-infected and uninfected women in WIHS, 1,166 (31%) were HCV antibody positive.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
Awareness of HCV infection and probability of referrals for diagnostic evaluations and treatment using logistic regression. Follow-up HCV information was available for 681 (390 died, 15 withdrew, 80 missed visit) in 2004. Of these 681, 522 (76.7%) reported knowing their HCV diagnosis. Of these, 247 of 522 (47.3%) stated their providers recommended a liver biopsy, whereas 139 of 247 or 56.3% reported having a liver biopsy. A total of 170 of 522 (32.6%) reported being offered treatment and 74.1% (n = 126 of 170) reported receiving HCV treatment. In multivariate regression analyses, African-American race, Hispanic/Latina ethnicity, poverty, and current crack/cocaine/heroin use were negatively associated with treatment referrals, whereas elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was associated with increased likelihood of referral and increased likelihood of treatment.
One quarter of women with HCV in this cohort were not aware of their diagnosis. Among those aware of their HCV, 1 in 4 received liver biopsy and treatment for HCV. Both provider and patient education interventions regarding HCV testing and HCV treatment options and guidelines are needed to enhance HCV awareness and participation in HCV evaluation and treatment.