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Equitable access to HCV care in HIV-HCV co-infection can be achieved despite barriers to health care provision

Authors Cooper C, Giordano C, Mackie D, Mills EJ

Published 20 April 2010 Volume 2010:6 Pages 207—212


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Curtis L Cooper1, Celine Giordano1, Dave Mackie1, Edward J Mills2

1The University of Ottawa Division of Infectious Diseases Viral Hepatitis Program, Ottawa, Canada; 2Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

Abstract: Language barrier, race, immigration status, mental health illness, substance abuse and socioeconomic status are often not considered when evaluating hepatitis C virus (HCV) sustained virological response (SVR) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The influence of these factors on HCV work-up, treatment initiation and SVR were assessed in an HIV–HCV coinfected population and compared to patients with HCV mono-infection. The setting was a publicly funded, urban-based, multidisciplinary viral hepatitis clinic. A clinical database was utilized to identify HIV and HCV consults between June 2000 and June 2007. Measures of access to HCV care (ie, liver biopsy and HCV antiviral initiation) and SVR as a function of the above variables were evaluated and compared between patients with HIV–HCV and HCV. HIV–HCV co-infected (n = 106) and HCV mono-infected (n = 802) patients were evaluated. HIV–HCV patients were more often white (94% versus 84%) and male (87% versus 69%). Bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis on biopsy was more frequent in HIV–HCV (37% versus 22%; P = 0.03). HIV infection itself did not influence access to biopsy (50% versus 52%) or treatment initiation (39% versus 38%). Race, language barrier, immigration status, injection drug history and socioeconomic status did not influence access to biopsy or treatment. SVR was 54% in HCV and 30% in HIV–HCV (P = 0.003). Genotype and HIV were the only evaluated variables to predict SVR. Within the context of a socialized, multidisciplinary clinic, HIV–HCV co-infected patients received similar access to HCV work-up and care as HCV mono-infected patients. SVR is diminished in HIV–HCV co-infection independent of language barrier, race, immigration status, or socioeconomic status.

Keywords: HIV, HCV, sustained virological response, immigrant, language, barrier, race, health care access

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