Hepatitis C treatment uptake following dried blood spot testing for hepatitis C RNA in New South Wales, Australia: the NSW DBS pilot study

Anna Conway*, Annabelle Stevens, Carolyn Murray, Bianca Prain, Cherie Power, Anna McNulty, Nigel Carrington, Heng Lu, Melanie Kingsland, Colette McGrath, Phillip Read, Mitchell Starr, Beth Catlett, Philip Cunningham, Jason Grebely

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Background. Dried blood spot (DBS) testing for hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA provides a sampling option that avoids venepuncture and can be carried out in a nonclinical setting. Large-scale evaluations are needed to understand how DBS testing can reduce HCV burden. This study estimated prevalence of, and factors associated with, HCV RNA and treatment initiation among people enrolled in a state-wide pilot of people testing in the NSW DBS Pilot in New South Wales, Australia. Methods. People at risk of HIV/HCV could participate via (1) self-registration online with a DBS collection kit delivered and returned by conventional postal service; or (2) assisted DBS sample collection at a community site or prison. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with detectable HCV RNA and treatment initiation within 6 months of testing. Results. Between September 2017 and December 2020, 5960 people were tested for HCV (76% men, 35% Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, 55% recently injected drugs): 21% online self-registration, 34% assisted registration in the community, 45% assisted registration in prison. Fifteen percent had detectable HCV RNA (878/5960). Overall, 44% (n = 386/878) of people with current HCV initiated treatment within 6 months (13% online self-registration, 27% assisted registration in the community, 61% assisted registration in prison). Testing in prison compared with the community (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 4.28; 95% CI, 3.04–6.03) was associated with increased odds of treatment initiation. Being a woman compared with a man (aOR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.47–0.97) was associated with reduced treatment initiation. Conclusions. The NSW DBS Pilot demonstrates the feasibility of using DBS to promote HCV testing and treatment in community and prison settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberofad517
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • DBS
  • direct-acting antivirals
  • HCV
  • models of care
  • testing


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