Uptake of hepatitis C specialist services and treatment following diagnosis by dried blood spot in Scotland

Georgina McAllister, Hamish Innes, Allan Mcleod, John F Dillon, Peter C Hayes, Ray Fox, Stephen T Barclay, Kate Templeton, Celia Aitken, Rory Gunson, David Goldberg, Sharon J Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Dried blood spot (DBS) testing for hepatitis C (HCV) was introduced to Scotland in 2009. This minimally invasive specimen provides an alternative to venipuncture and can overcome barriers to testing in people who inject drugs (PWID).

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to determine rates and predictors of: exposure to HCV, attendance at specialist clinics and anti-viral treatment initiation among the DBS tested population in Scotland.

STUDY DESIGN: DBS testing records were deterministically linked to the Scottish HCV Clinical database prior to logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: In the first two years of usage in Scotland, 1322 individuals were tested by DBS of which 476 were found to have an active HCV infection. Linkage analysis showed that 32% had attended a specialist clinic within 12 months of their specimen collection date and 18% had begun anti-viral therapy within 18 months of their specimen collection date. A significantly reduced likelihood of attendance at a specialist clinic was evident amongst younger individuals (<35 years), those of unknown ethnic origin and those not reporting injecting drug use as a risk factor.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that DBS testing in non-clinical settings has the potential to increase diagnosis and, with sufficient support, treatment of HCV infection among PWID.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-64
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Female
  • Health Services
  • Hepatitis C
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Scotland


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