Combined COVID-19 Vaccination and Hepatitis C Virus and HIV Screening Intervention For High-Risk Populations at a Mobile Testing Unit in Madrid, Spain

Author: Jorge Valencia Pablo Ryan Guillermo Cuevas Julieta Domingorena Álvaro Vicario Marcela Villota-Rivas Andrea Herranz Mochales Jeffrey V Lazarus

Theme: Models of Care Year: 2022

COVID-19 has hindered efforts to address hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV by reducing testing,
particularly in marginalised groups, who have some of the highest rates of HCV and HIV and lowest
rates of COVID-19 vaccination.
Description of model of care/intervention:
We explored the acceptability of combining HCV point-of-care testing (PoCT) with COVID-19
vaccination in a mobile testing unit in Madrid, Spain. During 28/9/2021-26/10/2021, 101 individuals
from high-risk populations, including people with substance use disorders (SUDs), were invited to
get the COVID-19 vaccine along with HCV antibody (Ab) screening. If HCV Ab+, they were offered
HCV-RNA PoCT. Everyone was screened for HIV, as per the standard of care. HCV-RNA+ and HIV+
patients not on antiretroviral therapy (ART) were linked to care.
Of the 101 participants, 59.4% had SUDs (68.3% male), of which 3.3% reported a previous COVID-19
diagnosis, none had been vaccinated for COVID-19 and all received the Janssen vaccine without any
identified adverse events (Figure). All were tested for HCV Ab and HIV and 25.0% and 15.0% were
positive, respectively. Of those HCV Ab+, all were tested for HCV-RNA and 60.0% were positive, of
which 44.4% were probable reinfection cases. Of those HIV+, none were new diagnoses and 55.6%
had abandoned ART. To date, 66.7% have started HCV treatment and 20.0% have re-started ART.
Conclusion and next steps:
The intervention had an acceptability rate of 100% and was safe, as no adverse events to HCV testing
were reported. It also optimised participants’ time use as they would have been waiting for HCV/HIV
test results and it prevented the need for multiple visits. This approach can serve as an example of a
novel model of care to increase HCV/HIV screening and care linkage, along with COVID-19
vaccination, in high-risk populations. Next steps include continuing treatment initiation and
Disclosure of interest Statement:
JV acknowledges speaker fees from Gilead Sciences, AbbVie and ViiV, outside the submitted work. PR
acknowledges grants, personal fees and non-financial support from Gilead Sciences and Merck,
personal fees from VIIV and personal fees and non-financial support from AbbVie, outside the
submitted work. JVL acknowledges a grant from AbbVie to ISGlobal to fund this study, grants and
speaker fees from Gilead Sciences and MSD and speaker fees from AbbVie, Genfit, Intercept and ViiV,
outside the submitted work. GC, JD, ÁV and MV-R have nothing to disclose.

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