Acceptability of hepatitis C virus testing methods among injecting drug users

Authors

  • BETHANY WHITE,

    1. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia
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      Bethany White, Research Assistant, Viral Hepatitis Epidemiology and Prevention Program (VHEPP), National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia

  • CAROLYN DAY,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia
    2. Drug Health Services, Central Clinical School, University of Sydney, Australia
      Drug Health Services, Central Clinical School (C39), University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Tel: +61 (0)2 9515 8817. Fax: +61 (0)2 9515 8970. E-mail: cday@med.usyd.edu.au
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      Carolyn Day, NH&MRC Post Doctoral Fellow and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia

  • HLA HLA THEIN,

    1. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia
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      Hla Hla Thein, Doctoral candidate, VHCRR, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia

  • ANNA DOAB,

    1. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia
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      Anna Doab, Research Assistant, VHCRR, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia

  • ANNA BATES,

    1. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia
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      Anna Bates, Research Assistant, VHEPP, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia

  • JOANNE HOLDEN,

    1. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia
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      Joanne Holden, Research Assistant, VHEPP, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia

  • INGRID VAN BEEK,

    1. Kirketon Road Centre, South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service, Australia
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      Ingrid van Beek, Director, Kirketon Road Centre, South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service, Australia

  • LISA MAHER

    1. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia
    2. School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Australia
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      Associate Professor Lisa Maher, Head, VHEPP, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Australia.


Drug Health Services, Central Clinical School (C39), University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Tel: +61 (0)2 9515 8817. Fax: +61 (0)2 9515 8970. E-mail: cday@med.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

Introduction and Aims. The acceptability of testing methods and procedures has implications for uptake of blood-borne virus screening in sentinel samples of injecting drug users (IDUs) likely to participate in surveillance. The aim of the current study was to determine the acceptability of three methods of hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing among injecting drug users (IDUs): oral fluid, capillary blood and venous blood sampling. Design and Methods. A cross-sectional survey of IDUs was conducted in inner-city Sydney in 2005 for a laboratory validation study of HCV antibody testing. Participants were tested using the three different specimen collection methods and asked about the acceptability of each method and a particular preference documented. Results. Two-hundred and twenty-nine IDUs participated in the study. Before and after specimen collection, the acceptability of all three collection methods for HCV testing was high (>85%). Oral fluid remained the preferred method after sample collection, with females (65%) significantly more likely than males (49%) to report a preference (unadjusted odds ratio 2.0; 95% confidence interval 1.1–3.5, p = 0.03) for that method. Discussion and Conclusions. Findings suggest that oral fluid testing is an acceptable and preferred alternative for HCV testing among IDUs. However, concerns reported by participants in the study indicate that information and education regarding the nature and diagnostic value of oral fluid testing is necessary prior to its implementation for surveillance purposes among this population.

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