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We aimed at evaluating hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence and treatment referral outcomes in a large population of drug users in Northern Italy. Each participant underwent a quick capillary blood test. Positive participants underwent HCV RNA quantification. HCV RNA positive subjects were referred to treatment and evaluated immediately at the end of treatment and at 3 and 6 months after treatment. Of the 636 participants tested, 244 were positive. Intravenous drug use was more frequent among subjects who tested positive for HCV antibodies (99%). Among subjects who tested positive, 68% were HCV-RNA positive while 32% were negative. Among people referred to treatment, nearly 30% did not show up while 70% completed the treatment with success. Over 99% of people who started direct-acting antiviral agent (DAA) have a sustained response. We observed a significant higher prevalence of HCV positive subjects among people who inject drugs (99%) and we observed a high success rate for HCV treatment engagement. Rapid testing for HCV represents a potential tool for HCV screening among high-risk groups.


Assunta Lanza, Miriam Olivola, Gianluca Peschi, Natascia Brondino, Pierluigi Politi. HCV prevalence and treatment outcomes among drug users in an outpatient center for drug addiction in Northern Italy. Annali dell'Istituto superiore di sanita. 2023 Apr-Jun;59(2):108-113

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PMID: 37337985

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