Hepatitis C test uptake among historic blood transfusion recipients following media coverage of the Penrose Inquiry and an awareness-raising campaign

Allan McLeod, Amanda Weir, Sharon J Hutchinson, David J. Goldberg

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Abstract

The final report of the Penrose Inquiry into historic transmission of HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) through blood transfusion/products in Scotland was published in March 2015 and recommended “everyone who had received a blood transfusion prior to 1991 and who had not had a test for HCV should be offered one”. A targeted awareness-raising campaign to encourage such individuals to be tested was launched in October 2016. We examined HCV testing undertaken in 2015-16 in three NHS boards in Scotland to evaluate impact of these events. Statistical process control was used to monitor trends in individuals tested and those mentioning transfusion. HCV positivity was calculated and multivariate logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with mention of transfusion. 22,842 individuals received an HCV test in 2015-16 and 3% of those with clinical information mentioned transfusion. For all HCV tests, the week following the Penrose Report was significantly higher and for tests indicating transfusion, the 3 weeks following were significantly higher. There was no significant increase following the awareness-raising campaign. Women and those aged over 50 years were the most likely to have mentioned transfusion. Overall HCV positivity was 3.7% and <1% for the transfusion group. The impact of both intense media coverage and the government funded awareness-raising campaigns in terms of HCV test uptake was modest and short-lived. Our findings highlight the challenges of case-finding for HCV and the limited impact of awareness-raising. This can be used by other countries aiming to identify those infected through historic blood transfusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • blood transfusion
  • Penrose Inquiry

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