UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Hepatitis C Treatment Initiation in British Columbia, Canada: An Interrupted Time Series Study Morrow, Richard L.; Binka, Mawuena; Li, Julia; Irvine, Michael A.; Bartlett, Sofia; Wong, Stanley; Jeong, Dahn; Makuza, Jean Damascene; Wong, Jason; Yu, Amanda; et al.


We investigated the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on hepatitis C (HCV) treatment initiation, including by birth cohort and injection drug use status, in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Using population data from the BC COVID-19 Cohort, we conducted interrupted time series analyses, estimating changes in HCV treatment initiation following the introduction of pandemic-related policies in March 2020. The study included a pre-policy period (April 2018 to March 2020) and three follow-up periods (April to December 2020, January to December 2021, and January to December 2022). The level of HCV treatment initiation decreased by 26% in April 2020 (rate ratio 0.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.60 to 0.91). Overall, no statistically significant difference in HCV treatment initiation occurred over the 2020 and 2021 post-policy periods, and an increase of 34.4% (95% CI 0.6 to 75.8) occurred in 2022 (equating to 321 additional people initiating treatment), relative to expectation. Decreases in HCV treatment initiation occurred in 2020 for people born between 1965 and 1974 (25.5%) and people who inject drugs (24.5%), relative to expectation. In summary, the pandemic was associated with short-term disruptions in HCV treatment initiation in BC, which were greater for people born 1965 to 1974 and people who inject drugs.

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