Kendall R. Beck, Nicole J. Kim, Mandana Khalili
Introduction and aim. Adherence to hepatitis C (HCV) care was suboptimal in the interferon era among underserved African Americans (AA), but adherence data in the era of direct acting antivirals (DAA) is lacking in this population. We aimed to evaluate the impact of DAA on HCV care in underserved AA. Material and methods. Clinical records of AAs undergoing HCV evaluation attending a safety net health system liver clinic were reviewed from 2006 to 2011 (pre-DAA), and January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2016 (post-DAA). Results. 291 patients were identified (129 pre-DAA, and 162 post-DAA). Median age was 58, 66% were male, 91% had HCV genotype 1, and 70% had fibrosis ≥ stage 2. Post-DAA patients were older (60 vs. 53 years; p < 0.001), had higher rates of insurance (98 vs. 88%; p < 0.001), liver fibrosis ≥ stage 2 (77 vs. 61%; p = 0.048), ≥ 2 medical comorbidities (19 vs. 0.8%; p < 0.001), and median baseline log10 HCV RNA (6.07 vs. 5.81 IU/mL; p < 0.001), but lower median ALT (46 vs. 62 U/L; p < 0.001). Post-DAA, fewer patients were treatment ineligible (5.6 vs. 39%; p < 0.001) and more initiated therapy (71 vs. 8.5%; < 0.001), were adherent to HCV care (82 vs. 38%; p < 0.001), and achieved cure (95.7 vs. 63.6%, p < 0.001). Availability of DAA was independently associated with improved adherence to HCV care (OR 10.3, 95% CI 4.84-22.0). Conclusion. Availability of DAA is associated with increased treatment eligibility, initiation, adherence to HCV care, and cure in HCV-infected underserved AAs; highlighting the critical role of access to DAA in this population.
Key words. Health disparity., Vulnerable population., Hepatitis C., Minorities., Sofosbuvir.