(INF-P11) Assessment of Hepatitis C at the Malmö Needle Exchange Program
Testing for HCV viremia and examination by transient elastography with a mobile Fibroscan was made available at the Malmö Needle Exchange Program (MNEP) in 2016 (previous routine testing was based on detection of anti-HCV antibodies). We assessed the prevalence and duration of chronic HCV infection among anti-HCV positive MNEP participants.
Results of HCV RNA PCR from anti-HCV positive visitors during 2016 were analyzed in correlation to age, gender and known duration of HCV infection. Data for self-perceived health status collected through 36-Item Short Form Survey and Fibroscan results were included for a subset (n=25) of the study cohort.
During 2016, 574 individuals visited the MNEP. HCV RNA PCR data was available for 391 anti-HCV positive NEP visitors. For 35 of them, < 6 months had elapsed since the first anti-HCV positive test and chronicity could not yet be determined. For another 7 individuals, reinfection with recurrence of viremia after previously cleared infection was observed. Of the remaining 349 participants, 258 (74%) had chronic infection. The median duration of HCV infection for the subset examined with Fibroscan (n=25) was 20.5 years. Approximately half of them, 13 /25 (52%) patients, had F0-1, while 4 (16%) had F2, 2 (8%) F3 and 6 (24%) F4. Self-perceived general health status (Q1 of SF-36) was considered excellent, very good or good by 8 (32%) individuals and fair by 11 (44%) and poor by 6 (24%). The SF-36 results did not correlate statistically to the Fibroscan results within this small group.
A NEP enables HCV diagnostics and assessment of liver damage among people who inject drugs. Almost a quarter of the examined subset (n=25) had liver cirrhosis and the majority (68%) perceived their health as fair-poor. Treatment will now also be made available on-site at the NEP.