Results from a Wisconsin pilot program show that outreach testing with rapid hepatitis C virus (HCV) kits can uncover a substantial number of active but unreported infections.
The Wisconsin Division of Public Health (WDPH) conducted the program from October 2012 to October 2013 with clients from 4 community agencies that offer outreach testing for HCV and HIV and other services for people with drug dependence.
During the pilot, 1255 clients gave blood samples for rapid HCV testing. About 20% had positive results. Nearly three-fourths of the infections weren’t recorded in the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System, indicating they were newly detected and not reported to the WDPH. The vast majority of those with positive results—82%—said they were injection drug users (Stockman LJ et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014;63:309-311).
Outreach With Rapid HCV Testing Detects Many Active Infections. JAMA. 2014;311(22):2266. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.5844