Decrease in health-related quality of life associated with awareness of hepatitis C virus infection among people who inject drugs in Scotland

McDonald, Scott and Hutchinson, Sharon and Palmateer, Norah Elizabeth and Allen, Elizabeth and Cameron, Sheila O. and David J., Goldberg and Taylor, Avril (2013) Decrease in health-related quality of life associated with awareness of hepatitis C virus infection among people who inject drugs in Scotland. Journal of Hepatology, 58 (3). pp. 460-466. ISSN 0168-8278

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    Abstract

    Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can significantly reduce health-related quality of life (QoL), but it is not clear if reduction is associated with the infection or with being aware of one's infection status. Understanding the impact of a HCV diagnosis on QoL is essential to inform decision-making regarding screening/testing and treatment. Using a cross-sectional design, we assessed QoL in 2898 people who inject drugs (PWID), surveyed in Scotland during 2010 using EQ-5D. Multifactorial regression compared self-reported QoL between PWID who were (i) chronically HCV-infected and aware of their infected status, (ii) chronically HCV-infected but unaware, and (iii) not chronically infected. Median time since onset of injecting was 10years; not chronically infected PWID were younger and had shorter injecting careers than chronically infected PWID. Median EQ-5D was highest for the not chronically infected and the chronic/unaware groups (0.73) compared with the chronic/aware group (0.66). After adjustment for demographic and behavioural co-factors, QoL was significantly reduced in chronic/aware compared with chronic/unaware PWID (adjusted B=-0.09, p=0.005); there was no evidence for a difference in QoL between not chronically infected and chronic/unaware PWID (adjusted B=-0.03, p=0.13). Awareness of one's chronic HCV status was associated with reduced health-related QoL, but there was no evidence for further reduction attributable to chronic infection itself after adjusting for important covariate differences.