Author: Busschots D, Bielen R, Koc ÖM, Dercon E, Verrando R, Windelinckx T, Maertens G, Bourgeois S, Matheï C, Robaeys G

Theme: Models of Care Year: 2019

Background: Targeted screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is not yet widely executed in
Belgium. When performed in people who inject drugs (PWID), it is mostly focussed on PWID
receiving opiate substitution therapy (OST). Young opiate injectors and amphetamine injectors are
often forgotten and isolated from care. Therefore, we want to outreach to PWID who avoid drug
treatment centers and to use the screening for HCV as a bridge to re-integration into the health care
Description of model of care/intervention: In a muticentric, prospective, cohort study in the
northern part of Belgium, participants were recruited by outreaching at organized screening events
outside an OST centre, using a mobile home between September 2018 and April 2019. The
participants (>18y and PWID) were tested by finger prick for HCV antibodies (Ab) using the Oraquick®
test. A blood sample was taken if the finger prick test was positive.
Effectiveness: A total of 111 PWID were screened for HCV Ab in a time span of six months. Of all
PWID, 84 (75.7%) had ever injected heroin and 56 (50.5%) amphetamines. Twenty-eight (33.3%)
heroin users and 27 (48.2%) amphetamine users had injected during the last six months. Mean age
of all screened PWID was 45±8.9 years. The finger prick test was positive in 46 (41.4%) PWID. A total
of 25 (54.3%) were found HCV RNA positive after blood analysis. One (4.0%) participant was HCV-HIV
coinfected. Of the HCV RNA positives 17 (68.0%) were genotyped of whom seven (41.2%) had
genotype 1a, two (11.8%) 1b, one (5.9%) 2b, five (29.4%) 3a and two (11.8%) 4a/c/d.
Conclusion and next steps: This HCV outreach screening method reaches effectively an up to now
non served group of actively using PWID who inject moreover amphetamines in almost half of the
cases. Our next steps consist of extending the program, analyzing cost-effectiveness and evaluating
linkage to care to HCV therapy.
Disclosure of Interest Statement: See example below: D.B. has received a travel grant from AbbVie,
R.B. has received travel grants from AbbVie, Gilead Sciences and MSD to attend scientific congresses
and research grants from Gilead and MSD, Ö.K. has received a travel grant and research grants from
Gilead, E.D. has received travel grants form AbbVie, Gilead Sciences and MSD, T.W. has received
travel grants from Gilead to attend scientific congresses and grants from Abbvie, Gilead, BMS (CBuddy project)and MSD (Expert C pilot), G.M. has received travel grants from MSD and Gilead to
attend scientific congresses and grants from Abbvie, Gilead, BMS, S.B. has received consultancy,
speaker’s fee and grants from AbbVie, Janssen, Gilead and MSD, C.M. reports no conflict of interest,
G.R. has received research grants from AbbVie, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, MSD, and has acted as a
consultant/advisor for AbbVie, BMS, Gilead Sciences and MSD

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