The number of patients diagnosed with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is markedly higher than the number initiating treatment indicating gaps in the care cascade, likely centered around reaching at-risk populations. Understanding changing characteristics of patients with HCV allows for targeted programs that increase linkage to care. We investigated changes in demographic and clinical characteristics of patients registered in the German Hepatitis C-Registry (DHC-R) from January 1, 2014–December 31, 2019.The DHC-R is an ongoing, noninterventional, multicenter, prospective, observational cohort registry including 327 German centers. Patient characteristics were analyzed over time in 7 phases for all patients completing a screening visit.
Overall, 14,357 patients were enrolled. The percentage of treatment-naïve/non-cirrhotic patients increased from 34.4% in phase 1 (January 1–December 31, 2014) to 68.2% in phase 7 (August 1–December 31, 2019). The proportion of migrants, alcohol users, people who inject drugs, and those receiving opiate substitution therapy increased in later registry phases. Most patients (60.1%) were receiving comedication at baseline.
The most prescribed comedications were drugs used to treat opioid dependence which increased from 9.2% in phase 1 to 24.0% in phase 7. The patients’ mean age decreased from 52.3 years in phase 1 to 48.7 years in phase 7. From 2014 to 2019, the proportion of at-risk patients enrolling in the registry increased. To eliminate viral hepatitis as a major public health threat, a continued commitment to engaging underserved populations into the HCV care cascade is needed