Lücken in der HCV-Versorgung von Patient:innen in dezentralen Opioid-Agonisten-Therapieprogrammen

News — 18.03.2024

43% of patients in an OAT programme with chronic Hepatitis C are not diagnosed, a study from Sankt Gallen finds.

This recent study has sent questionnaires to GPs and pharmacies in the canton Sankt Gallen who cared for patients in OAT programmes and asked about HCV care. 32% of patients in this setting were never screened for HCV antibodies. 68% of the screened patients were HCV antibody positive. The authors then extrapolated the potential prevalence of the patients who had never been HCV screened. It results in 43% of patients with chronic hepatitis C never being diagnosed, 52% of these patients are not yet treated. 21% of the OAT patients are HCV RNA positive.

The study shows that there remain relevant gaps in HCV care in decentralised settings among a key group for elimination. WHO elimination goals of 90% diagnosed and 80% treated are not reached in this setting. It is paramount that we intensify our efforts to diagnose and treat patients in the decentralised setting by raising awareness among healthcare providers and patients as well as simplifying testing.

Kerstin Wissel, Pietro Vernazza, Stefan P. Kuster, Katharina Hensel-Koch, Andrea Bregenzer: Hepatitis C prevalence and cascade of care among patients in decentralised opioid agonist therapy programme of the canton of St Gallen, Switzerland: a cross-sectional study. Swiss Med Wkly, 2024 Feb. 29;154(2):3352. Available from: https://smw.ch/index.php/smw/article/view/3352.