Source: Public Health Scotland
This Public Health Scotland report provides an update on progress towards elimination of hepatitis C as a major public health concern in Scotland. The surveillance data suggests there has been major progress made on a number of hepatitis C elimination targets in Scotland.
The prevalence of chronic HCV infection among people who inject drugs in Scotland was nearly halved, from 37% in 2015–16 to 19% in 2019–20. By 2021, 80% of individuals diagnosed with chronic HCV infection in Scotland had been initiated on HCV treatment. Between 2015 and 2020, there were major reductions in HCV-related mortality and severe disease. This was in excess of 65% for outcomes involving chronic infection at the time of death/presentation.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact, with the 2020 and 2021 totals of new diagnoses the lowest recorded in the last decade, testing rates significantly reduced in 2021 compared to 2019, and 2020/21 and 2021/22 seeing the lowest annual numbers of new treatment initiates since 2015/16. Incidence rates (new infections) among people who inject drugs also remain high despite the reduction in overall prevalence.