Home > 'HepCheck Dublin': an intensified hepatitis C screening programme in a homeless population demonstrates the need for alternative models of care.

Lambert, John S and Murtagh, Ross and Menezes, Dee and O'Carroll, Austin and Murphy, Carol and Cullen, Walter and McHugh, Tina and Avramovic, Gordana and Tinago, Willard and Van Hout, Marie Claire (2019) 'HepCheck Dublin': an intensified hepatitis C screening programme in a homeless population demonstrates the need for alternative models of care. BMC Infectious Diseases , 19 , (1) , p. 128.

URL: https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10...

BACKGROUND
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease worldwide. Prevalence of HCV in homeless populations ranges from 3.9 to 36.2%. The HepCheck study sought to investigate and establish the characterisation of HCV burden among individuals who attended an intensified screening programme for HCV in homeless services in Dublin, Ireland.

METHODS
The HepCheck study was conducted as part of a larger European wide initiative called HepCare Europe. The study consisted of three phases; 1) all subjects completed a short survey and were offered a rapid oral HCV test; 2) a convenience sample of HCV positive participants from phase 1 were selected to complete a survey on health and social risk factors and 3) subjects were tracked along the referral pathway to identify whether they were referred to a specialist clinic, attended the specialist clinic, were assessed for cirrhosis by transient elastography (Fibroscan) and were treated for HCV.

RESULTS
Five hundred ninety-seven individuals were offered HCV screening, 73% were male and 63% reported having had a previous HCV screening. We screened 538 (90%) of those offered screening, with 37% testing positive. Among those who tested positive, 112 (56%) were 'new positives' and 44% were 'known positives'. Undiagnosed HCV was prevalent in 19% of the study sample. Active past 30-day drug use was common, along with attendance for drug treatment. Unstable accommodation was the most common barrier to attending specialist appointments and accessing treatment. Depression and anxiety, dental problems and respiratory conditions were common reported health problems. Forty-six subjects were referred to specialised services and two subjects completed HCV treatment.

CONCLUSIONS
This study demonstrates that the current hospital-based model of care is inadequate in addressing the specific needs of a homeless population and emphasises the need for a community-based treatment approach. Findings are intended to inform HepCare Europe in their development of a community-based model of care in order to engage with homeless individuals with multiple co-morbidities including substance abuse, who are affected by or infected with HCV.


Item Type:Article
Date:2019
Page Range:p. 128
Volume:19
Number:1
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Drug use
G Health and disease > Disorder by cause > Communicable disease
G Health and disease > Disorder by cause > Communicable disease > Hepatitis C
T Demographic characteristics > Homeless person
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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