April 30, 2013
Improving the utilization of viral hepatitis testing and management was the subject of two oral abstract sessions at the 3rd International Conference on Viral Hepatitis (ICVH 2013), which took place in late March in New York City.
Mark Iscoe (from Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y.) presented the results of a prospective, anonymous study examining a convenience sample of more than 2,100 emergency department and pharmacy patients (Abstract 6). Of them, 72% responded that they would get tested for hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV) if a free test was offered; 69% responded that they would also elect to have HIV testing in conjunction with hepatitis testing. These results suggest strong acceptability of integrated screening for viral hepatitis and HIV.
Leah Savitsky (from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute) presented self-reported performance data from 186 clinics caring for 9,943 HIV-infected patients (Abstract 15). Overall screening and counseling for HCV was accomplished in 93%, but a wide range of scores between clinics suggested that some facilities had need for additional quality improvement. One way to achieve such improvements may be through the use of a clinical decision support tool within an electronic medical record system; a presentation by Andrew Hamilton (from the Alliance of Chicago) showed that this approach appeared to improve HCV testing rates and referral to care in 31 federally funded community health centers (Abstract 46).
Korin Parrella (from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York) presented results of a study exploring voluntary OraQuick rapid HCV testing among a group of 388 individuals in a community-based outreach program in New York City (Abstract 18). The study identified 25 individuals (6.4%) who tested positive for HCV antibodies. In participants without a history of injection drug use, 6 (1.7%) tested positive. The study concluded that HCV rapid testing was acceptable to individuals with and without established HCV risk factors.
Vincent Soriano, M.D., Ph.D., (from Hospital Carlos III in Madrid, Spain) presented data from Madrid finding that, although rates of acute HCV are low (~1%/year), they are increasing among HIV-infected men who have sex with men in that city (Abstract 12). By way of additional warning of potential HCV infection trends, he also pointed out that the historically low acute HCV rates contrast with very high rates of syphilis in the same group (~20%). Soriano concluded that preventive measures for sexually transmitted infections, as well as periodic HCV screenings, are warranted.
This is part of a series of articles summarizing ICVH 2013. Read the other articles in the series:
Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D., is the vice president and chief medical officer of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, one of the joint sponsors of ICVH 2013. Dr. Young is also an adjunct professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Click here to read a more detailed bio of Dr. Young, which includes financial disclosure information.