Keeping up with changes in HCV guidance: An update on the latest recommendations
“The landscape of the hepatitis C virus epidemic is always changing, and clinicians rely on timely, evidence-based guidance to navigate the evolving terrain, which now includes the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force also called for implementation of universal screening — a welcome recommendation from an influential policymaking group. However, messaging and uptake was understandably waylaid by the COVID-19 pandemic, which occurred at the same time. Indeed, U.S. data from the early pandemic supports this, wherein HCV RNA testing remained at 39% below baseline in July 2020. Decreases in HCV testing translate into decreases in treatment; in the same study, there was a contemporaneous decline in the number of HCV treatments dispensed. This is the reason we wanted to highlight the importance of universal HCV screening with this update — to make sure that this recommendation was again underscored so that we can increase HCV screening rates to above and beyond pre-pandemic levels.” See the new IDSA/AASLD guidelines here

L.A. County wants to curb riskier fentanyl use. Its approach worries some activists
“By a line of ragged RVs slung along 78th Street in South Los Angeles, a seven-member team passes out glass pipes used for smoking opioids, crack and methamphetamine. Part of the front line of Los Angeles County’s offensive against the deadly fentanyl epidemic, the group hands out other supplies: clean needles, sanitary wipes, fentanyl test strips and naloxone, medication that can reverse an overdose.”

Free STI testing and other health services now available at IndyGo’s downtown transit center
“Indianapolis residents can now get free tests for sexually transmitted infections at IndyGo’s mobile health clinic at Carson Transit Center downtown. IndyGo added two new partnerships to its Wellness in Transit program.  It has partnered with nonprofit Step-Up, Inc., to provide free STI, HIV and hepatitis C tests. IndyGo has also partnered with the federally qualified health center Adult and Child Health to assess for housing assistance referral needs and other support services — like mental health care, substance use services and help getting identification crucial for securing housing, employment and banking. People can access the free services every Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. They do not need health insurance or an ID to receive care.”

Free hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis testing for the month of June
“Southeastern Idaho Public Health will be offering free hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis testing to at-risk individuals throughout the month of June in all its county locations. Testing only takes a few minutes and you can get results before you leave. Visit to locate a clinic near you. Same-day appointments are available. There is only one way to know — get tested.”

Welcoming HEP’s new Executive Director, Apoorva Mallya
“Apoorva comes to HEP from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he spent the last 15 years working on his passion of delivering health services to the most vulnerable across the world.”

Barriers and enablers to testing for hepatitis C virus infection in people who inject drugs – a scoping review of the qualitative evidence
“Injection drug use is the primary mode of transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the developed world and guidelines recommend screening individuals with current or history of injection drug use for HCV; however, the majority of those living with HCV in Canada are not aware of their positive status. This low level of HCV status awareness suggests that screening is not effective with current testing strategies. The aim of this review is to determine what barriers and enablers people who inject drugs (PWID) experience surrounding testing for HCV to help inform the development of an engaging testing strategy.”

Evaluation of the Cherokee Nation Hepatitis C Virus Elimination Program — Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, 2015–2020
“Approximately 2.4 million persons in the United States have hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and 66,700 acute HCV infection cases were estimated for 2020 (1,2). American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons are disproportionately affected by HCV infection and experienced the highest rates of acute HCV infection (2.1 cases per 100,000 persons) and HCV-associated mortality (10.17 per 100,000 persons) in the United States during 2020 (1). During 2015, Cherokee Nation Health Services (CNHS) in Oklahoma implemented an HCV elimination program, which includes universal HCV screening, primary HCV workforce expansion, and harm reduction services (3). To assess progress 5 years after program initiation, CNHS analyzed deidentified health record data.”

State, federal grants fund ‘Connect to Cure’ for hepatitis C
“Hoosiers living with or at risk of contracting hepatitis C will now have access to screenings, care and treatment at 19 different locations in 16 counties across the state through “Connect to Cure” — a collaboration between the state and Marion County organizations.”