To achieve HCV elimination, screening programs in the general population, who are unaware of the infection status, are needed, focusing on the social and age groups most at risk for viral transmission. Universal screening, while theoretically feasible and conceivably highly effective in identifying most HCV-infected persons, would put major organizational and financial hurdles in countries with low-to-moderate prevalence. Hence, if appropriately conceived, focused screenings would identify a high rate of infected subjects, because of the higher infection rate related to risk factors, and simultaneously reduce onward viral transmission by allowing to clear HCV from those at higher risk of spreading the infection.
One of the models proposed to contain the medical and non-medical infrastructure costs and to reach the targeted population is HCV screening to be held simultaneously with other healthcare services such as COVID-19-related services. An editorial, published in Liver International, addressed HCV screening held during SARS-CoV-2 testing and COVID-19 vaccination in Italy, reported as an HCV testing opportunity approach.
The full editorial can be accessed here.