Arch Iran Med. 2021;24(2): 94-100.
doi: 10.34172/aim.2021.14
  Abstract View: 43
  PDF Download: 28

Original Article

Hepatitis C Rapid Point-of-Care Testing and Laboratory-based Non-invasive Assessment of Liver Fibrosis among Drug Abusers: An Experience from Iran

Mohammad Reza Hedayati-Moghaddam 1,2* ORCID logo, Hossein Soltanian 1,2 ORCID logo, Majid Danaee 2,3, Seyed Ahmad Vahedi 4

1 Blood Borne Infections Research Center, Academic Center for Education, Culture & Research (ACECR), Razavi Khorasan Branch, Mashhad, Iran
2 Razavi Khorasan Hepatitis Association (NGO), Mashhad, Iran
3 Social Sciences Research Group, Research Institute of Tourism, Academic Center for Education, Culture & Research (ACECR), Razavi Khorasan Branch, Mashhad, Iran
4 Academic Center for Education, Culture & Research (ACECR), Razavi Khorasan Branch, Mashhad, Iran
*Corresponding Author: Mohammad Reza Hedayati-Moghaddam, MD; Academic Center for Education, Culture & Research (ACECR), Razavi Khorasan Branch, Ferdowsi University Campus, Azadi sq., Mashhad, 91775-1376, Iran. Tel: +98-51-31997446; Fax: +98-51-31997197; Email: drhedayati@acecr.ac.ir


Background: People who use drugs, particularly injection drug users (IDUs) are known as the major source of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This study was performed to determine the prevalence of HCV infection using rapid point-of-care testing and to assess liver fibrosis by non-invasive lab tests among addict populations of Mashhad, Iran.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, drug users who referred to drug treatment and harm reduction centers of Mashhad were enrolled during March and December 2019. A rapid test kit was used to assess the presence of anti-HCV antibodies and a real-time PCR was performed to confirm the infection. The AST-platelet ratio index (APRI) and fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) score were used to investigate liver fibrosis in patients with positive HCV RNA. A P value <0.05 was considered as significant.

Results: A total of 390 drug users aged 15–74 years were assessed. Sixty-four individuals showed positive results for anti-HCV (16.4%), of whom 58 blood samples were available for PCR test. The viremic rate among the latter group was calculated at 84.5% (49/58); the total viremia prevalence was 12.8% (49/384). Multivariate analysis revealed that being single (P = 0.040) or divorced/ widow (P = 0.011) and history of drug injection (P<0.001) and tattoos (P = 0.021) were significantly associated with current HCV infection. Using APRI and FIB-4 indices, significant liver fibrosis was identified in 14.3% and 18.4% of cases, respectively.

Conclusion: HCV infection screening using rapid tests and examining liver fibrosis by non-invasive lab tests appear to be practicable and useful among poor populations in settings such as drug treatment centers.

Keywords: Drug users, Hepatitis C, Iran, Liver fibrosis, Point-of-care testing, Prevalence
Cite this article as: Hedayati-Moghaddam MR, Soltanian H, Danaee M, Vahedi SA. Hepatitis C rapid point-of-care testing and laboratory-based non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis among drug abusers: an experience from Iran. Arch Iran Med. 2021;24(2):94–100. doi: 10.34172/aim.2021.14.
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Abstract View: 43

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Submitted: 12 May 2020
Accepted: 21 Oct 2020
ePublished: 01 Feb 2021
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