The QuickStart Study is establishing and evaluating same-visit rapid point-of-care (POC) hepatitis C testing and treatment in community clinics. We hypothesise that rapid POC testing will lead to increased treatment uptake and cure, which will reduce the burden of hepatitis C in the community, having long term public health benefits.
Standard hepatitis C care typically requires people to attend multiple visits to health services, resulting in a substantial drop-off between each visit. Studies have indicated that rapid POC hepatitis C tests reduce barriers to diagnosis and can improve linkage to care however little is known about the impact on treatment coverage and cure. Simplifying hepatitis C testing pathways may lead to earlier complete diagnosis, and for those infected, treatment.
The QuickStart Study will look at several interventions designed to simplify the hepatitis C testing pathway. These interventions incorporate:
- hepatitis C antibody rapid POC tests that provide an indication of exposure to the virus.
- hepatitis C RNA rapid POC tests that provide an indication of current infection with the virus.
- a test-and-treat model where treatment is provided at the same visit as a reactive hepatitis C antibody result is recorded.
Results from the QuickStart study will help guide service delivery and inform mechanisms to enhance access to hepatitis C care.
2020 – 2022