The Viral Hepatitis Testing and Linkage to Care project focused on early identification of HCV at two sites in the United States. The Johns Hopkins University/ Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) HepTLC project implemented a program at BCHD sexually‐transmitted disease clinics serving an inner‐city population in Baltimore. The University of Alabama at Birmingham implemented an HCV screening program in an emergency room setting for high‐risk populations, such as baby boomers, injection drug users and HIV-positive persons. The goal of both projects was to enhance linkage to care, treatment and prevention services for individuals with HCV.
The updated surveillance and demographic information collected through this project has increased understanding of the HCV epidemic and provided insight into models for HCV testing and linkage to care that expand access to testing, patients’ knowledge of HCV status, and linkage to care services. These models may not only increase the number of individuals that move through the HCV care continuum, but also reduce the significant disparities in HCV infection. The projects have been very successful and have demonstrated the capacity for a city health department sexually-transmitted disease clinic and emergency departments to incorporate HCV testing and linkage to care services as a part of routine clinical operations.
These projects are funded through support from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.