Accurate knowledge of individual hepatitis C virus (HCV) status is an important component of comprehensive health services for people who inject drugs (PWID). In this paper we compare the perceived HCV status of PWID in a longitudinal cohort study with their actual status, as verified by HCV-RNA testing.
Participants who consented to blood testing at first follow up (352/688) were included. Self-reported HCV status (positive/negative/don't know), was compared with serology test results for participants.
In comparing self-report with HCV-RNA results, 274 of 352 participants had valid serology and self-report results; of these, 220 (80%) accurately reported their HCV status.
The findings of this study suggest that large proportions of PWID know their true HCV infection status, but the discordant participants represent potential HCV infection risks. Despite the majority of participants displaying concordance, this study reinforces the need for regular blood testing and the giving of accurate, practical and comprehensive HCV result information.