Curtis L. Cooper, Kednapa Thavorn, Ecaterina Damian, Daniel J. Corsi
Introduction and aim. HCV-infected immigrants contribute to the total prevalence in Canada and other developed nations. Little is known about engagement in care, access to service, and treatment outcomes in recipients of Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) HCV therapies among immigrants living with HCV. Material and methods. HCV patients assessed at The Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Clinic between 2000-2016 were identified. Immigration history, race, socioeconomic status, HCV work-up, treatment and outcome data were evaluated. HCV fibrosis assessment, treatment and sustained virologic response (SVR) were compared using logistic regression. Results. 2,335 HCV-infected patients were analyzed with 91% (2114) having data on immigration (23% immigrants). A median 16 years (Quartiles: 5, 29) passed from immigration to referral. Access to diagnostic procedures (Fibroscan/liver biopsy) was greater among immigrants compared to Canadian-born (78% vs. 68%, p = 0.001) and immigrants had an odds ratio of 1.72 (95% CI: 1.18-2.51) of receiving a FibroScan compared to Canadians after adjustment for demographic characteristics, HCV risk factors, and socioeconomic status. No differences in SVR were found between immigrants for IFN recipients. Among DAA recipients, rates of SVR were > 94% among all patients, 93% in Canadian-born and 98% among immigrants (p = 0.14). Conclusion. Nearly 80% of immigrants in this setting had access to fibrosis assessment which was higher than Canadian-born patients. Under half of both groups had initiated HCV therapy. Delays in accessing HCV care represent a missed opportunity to engage, treat and cure HCV patients. HCV screening and health care engagement at the time of immigration would optimize HCV care and therapeutic outcomes.
Key words. HCV., Immigrant., Sustained virological response., Socioeconomic., Poverty.