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People who are homeless have increased hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection risk, and are less likely to access primary healthcare. We aimed to evaluate HCV RNA prevalence, liver disease burden, linkage to care and treatment uptake and outcomes among people attending a homelessness service in Sydney. Participants were enrolled in an observational cohort study with recruitment at a homelessness service over eight liver health campaign days. Finger-stick whole-blood samples for Xpert HCV Viral Load and venepuncture blood samples were collected. Participants completed a self-administered survey and received transient elastography and clinical assessment by a general practitioner or nurse. Clinical follow-up was recommended 2-12 weeks after enrolment. For participants initiating direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy, medical records were audited retrospectively and treatment outcome data were collected. Among 202 participants (mean age, 48 years), 82% were male (n=165), 39% (n=78) reported ever injecting drugs, of whom 63% (n=49) injected in the previous month. Overall, 23% (n=47) had detectable HCV RNA and 6% had cirrhosis. HCV RNA prevalence among participants with either injecting or incarceration history was 35% (37/105), compared to 4% (3/73) among participants without these risk factors. Among those with detectable HCV RNA, 23 (49%) commenced therapy, of whom 65% (n=15) achieved sustained virological response, while the remainder had no available treatment outcome. No participant had documented virological failure. HCV DAA treatment uptake among people attending a homelessness service was encouraging, but innovative models of HCV care are required to improve linkage to care and treatment uptake among this highly marginalised population. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of viral hepatitis
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A family of hepatotropic DNA viruses which contains double-stranded DNA genomes and causes hepatitis in humans and animals. There are two genera: AVIHEPADNAVIRUS and ORTHOHEPADNAVIRUS. Hepadnaviruses include HEPATITIS B VIRUS, duck hepatitis B virus (HEPATITIS B VIRUS, DUCK), heron hepatitis B virus, ground squirrel hepatitis virus, and woodchuck hepatitis B virus (HEPATITIS B VIRUS, WOODCHUCK).
An ORTHOHEPADNAVIRUS causing chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma in woodchucks. It closely resembles the human hepatitis B virus.
INFLAMMATION of the LIVER in humans caused by HEPATITIS DELTA VIRUS, a defective RNA virus that can only infect HEPATITIS B patients. For its viral coating, hepatitis delta virus requires the HEPATITIS B SURFACE ANTIGENS produced by these patients. Hepatitis D can occur either concomitantly with (coinfection) or subsequent to (superinfection) hepatitis B infection. Similar to hepatitis B, it is primarily transmitted by parenteral exposure, such as transfusion of contaminated blood or blood products, but can also be transmitted via sexual or intimate personal contact.
INFLAMMATION of the LIVER in humans caused by HEPATITIS DELTA VIRUS in conjunction with HEPATITIS B VIRUS and lasting six months or more.
INFLAMMATION of the LIVER in humans caused by HEPATITIS C VIRUS, a single-stranded RNA virus. Its incubation period is 30-90 days. Hepatitis C is transmitted primarily by contaminated blood parenterally, and is often associated with transfusion and intravenous drug abuse. However, in a significant number of cases, the source of hepatitis C infection is unknown.
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