Increased case-finding and uptake of direct-acting antiviral treatment essential for micro-elimination of hepatitis C among people living with HIV: a national record linkage study.
Micro-elimination of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in people living with HIV (PLHIV) and co-infected with HCV has been proposed as a key contribution to the overall goal of HCV elimination. While other studies have examined micro-elimination in HIV-treated cohorts, few have considered HCV micro-elimination among those not treated for HIV or at a national level.Through data linkage of national and sentinel surveillance data, we examined the extent of HCV testing, diagnosis and treatment among a cohort of PLHIV in Scotland identified through the national database of HIV-diagnosed individuals, up to the end of 2017.Of 5018 PLHIV, an estimated 797 (15%) had never been tested for HCV and 70 (9%) of these had undiagnosed chronic HCV. The odds of never having been tested for HCV were the highest in those not on HIV treatment [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 7.21, 95% confidence interval (CI): 5.15-10.10). Overall HCV antibody positivity was 11%, and it was at its highest among people who inject drugs (49%). Most of those with chronic HCV (91%) had attended an HCV treatment clinic but only half had been successfully treated (54% for those on HIV treatment, 12% for those not) by the end of 2017. The odds of never having been treated for HCV were the highest in those not on HIV treatment (aOR = 3.60, 95% CI: 1.59-8.15).Our data demonstrate that micro-elimination of HCV in PLHIV is achievable but progress will require increased effort to engage and treat those co-infected, including those not being treated for their HIV.