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.
- hepatitis C virus
- injecting drug users
- dried blood spots
- viral hepatitis
McAllister, G., Innes, H., Mcleod, A., Dillon, J. F., Hayes, P. C., Fox, R., Barclay, S. T., Templeton, K., Aitken, C., Gunson, R., Goldberg, D., & Hutchinson, S. J. (2014). Uptake of hepatitis C specialist services and treatment following diagnosis by dried blood spot in Scotland. Journal of Clinical Virology, 61(3), 359-364. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcv.2014.09.004