STUDY Abstract: THU-090 The Covert “C”; Prevalence: Risk Factors and Management of Hepatitis C in Psychiatric In-Patients – J. Ramachandran, et al.
Study Aims and Results: In the by-gone era of treating HCV patients with interferon, people with mental illness were underserved because of interferon’s high profile of psychiatric side effects. Now with the availability of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), this Australian study of patients who were hospitalized with mental illness assessed: (1) HCV seroprevalence, (2) HCV risk factors, and (3) experience of treatment and follow-up. Of 241 patients (70% male with median age 43 years), the HCV risk factors were intravenous drug use (28%), exposure to custodial stay (20%), tattooing (63%), blood transfusion or organ transplantation (10%), sex workers (16%) and indigenous descent (8%). The prevalence of HCV antibody was 10%.
HCV RNA was negative in 11 of 25 patients with positive antibody, of which 5 had prior treatment and 6 had spontaneous clearance. In the remaining 14 patients with detectable HCV RNA, five were treated with DAAs. The remaining 9 untreated patients were difficult to engage with despite efforts by care teams.
Conclusions: These researchers concluded that psychiatric inpatients should be considered a high-risk population for HCV and routine screening should be considered. However, treating this patient population was challenging due to difficulties engaging.
Editorial Comments: This study had problems enrolling subjects, and thus is small. However, I agree that we should consider HCV screening for this population. I’d love to see a peer model approach, where peers with HCV talk about their HCV treatment experiences.Share This Page