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Cost-effectiveness of strategies for testing current hepatitis C virus infection : HEPATOLOGY, Vol. XX, No. X, 2015

Hepatology
Wiley-Blackwell

ScienceOpenPublisherPubMed
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Abstract

Six strategies for identifying hepatitis C virus (HCV) viremia, involving testing for HCV antibody (HCVAb) followed by a nucleic acid test (NAT) for HCV RNA when the antibody test is positive, are compared. Decision analysis was used to determine mean relative cost per person tested and outcomes of HCV viremia detection. Parameters included proportions of test population with HCVAb and viremia plus specificity, sensitivity, and cost of individual tests. For testing a population with an HCVAb seroprevalence of 3.25%, all strategies when adopting quantitative NAT vary little in cost (range, $29.50-$30.70) and are highly viremia specific (≥0.9997). Four of the strategies using venipuncture blood for HCVAb testing (whether laboratory conducted or employing a rapid, point-of-care assay) and for NAT (whether done by reflex or using separately drawn blood) achieve the highest viremia sensitivities (range, 0.9950-0.9954). Point-of-care HCVAb testing in fingerstick blood followed by NAT in venipuncture blood yields relatively lower viremia sensitivity (0.9301). The strategy that requires returning for NAT is even less viremia sensitive (<0.9000) because of follow-up loss. Strategies adopting qualitative rather than quantitative NAT are slightly cheaper (range, $28.90-$29.99), similarly viremia specific (≥0.9997), but less viremia sensitive (≤0.9456). Viremia sensitivity and specificity remain the same regardless of the proportion of HCVAb-seropositive persons in the cohort being tested.

Most cited references18

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Defining the primary characteristics of persons infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) enables physicians to more easily identify persons who are most likely to benefit from testing for the disease. To describe the HCV-infected population in the United States. Nationally representative household survey. U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population. 15,079 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2002. All participants provided medical histories, and those who were 20 to 59 years of age provided histories of drug use and sexual practices. Participants were tested for antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV) and HCV RNA, and their serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels were measured. The prevalence of anti-HCV in the United States was 1.6% (95% CI, 1.3% to 1.9%), equating to an estimated 4.1 million (CI, 3.4 million to 4.9 million) anti-HCV-positive persons nationwide; 1.3% or 3.2 million (CI, 2.7 million to 3.9 million) persons had chronic HCV infection. Peak prevalence of anti-HCV (4.3%) was observed among persons 40 to 49 years of age. A total of 48.4% of anti-HCV-positive persons between 20 and 59 years of age reported a history of injection drug use, the strongest risk factor for HCV infection. Of all persons reporting such a history, 83.3% had not used injection drugs for at least 1 year before the survey. Other significant risk factors included 20 or more lifetime sex partners and blood transfusion before 1992. Abnormal serum ALT levels were found in 58.7% of HCV RNA-positive persons. Three characteristics (abnormal serum ALT level, any history of injection drug use, and history of blood transfusion before 1992) identified 85.1% of HCV RNA-positive participants between 20 and 59 years of age. Incarcerated and homeless persons were not included in the survey. Many Americans are infected with HCV. Most were born between 1945 and 1964 and can be identified with current screening criteria. History of injection drug use is the strongest risk factor for infection.
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In the United States, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is most prevalent among adults born from 1945 through 1965, and approximately 50% to 75% of infected adults are unaware of their infection. To estimate the cost-effectiveness of birth-cohort screening. Cost-effectiveness simulation. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, U.S. Census, Medicare reimbursement schedule, and published sources. Adults born from 1945 through 1965 with 1 or more visits to a primary care provider annually. Lifetime. Societal, health care. One-time antibody test of 1945-1965 birth cohort. Numbers of cases that were identified and treated and that achieved a sustained viral response; liver disease and death from HCV; medical and productivity costs; quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs); incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER). Compared with the status quo, birth-cohort screening identified 808,580 additional cases of chronic HCV infection at a screening cost of $2874 per case identified. Assuming that birth-cohort screening was followed by pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PEG-IFN+R) for treated patients, screening increased QALYs by 348,800 and costs by$5.5 billion, for an ICER of $15,700 per QALY gained. Assuming that birth-cohort screening was followed by direct-acting antiviral plus PEG-IFN+R treatment for treated patients, screening increased QALYs by 532,200 and costs by$19.0 billion, for an ICER of \$35,700 per QALY saved. The ICER of birth-cohort screening was most sensitive to sustained viral response of antiviral therapy, the cost of therapy, the discount rate, and the QALY losses assigned to disease states. Empirical data on screening and direct-acting antiviral treatment in real-world clinical settings are scarce. Birth-cohort screening for HCV in primary care settings was cost-effective. Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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The present study examined reasons for the high incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among young injection drug users (IDUs). IDUs <30 years old who tested negative for HCV antibody were enrolled in a prospective cohort. Risk factors for seroconversion were examined using time-dependent regression analyses: 48 of 195 IDUs seroconverted to HCV, for an incidence rate of 25.1/100 person-years (95% confidence interval, 18.7-32.9/100 person-years). Independent risk factors included sharing needles with an HCV-infected sex partner (borderline statistical significance, P=.11) or a person who was not a sex partner, sharing nonsterile drug-preparation equipment, pooling money with another IDU to buy drugs, and exchanging sex for money. Ubiquitous behaviors among young IDUs, such as the forming of injecting or sexual partnerships and consequent sharing of needles and drug preparation equipment, are risk factors for HCV. Interventions to reduce HCV transmission must recognize the importance of relationships on injecting risk.
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Author and article information

Journal
Hepatology
Hepatology
Wiley-Blackwell
02709139
November 2015
November 25 2015
: 62
: 5
: 1396-1404
Article
10.1002/hep.27966
26126725
2e0917a5-e585-45a4-a580-d36f514395f1