A national program to scale-up decentralized hepatitis C virus point-of-care testing and treatment in Australia

Jason Grebely, Corey Markus, Louise Causer, David Silk, Simon Comben, S Hosseini-Hooshyar, S Davey, Andrew R. Lloyd, Maria Martinez, Shaw I, Cunningham Phillip, Carrie Fowlie, Evan Cunningham, Alison Marshall, M Byrne, Carla Treloar, Sophy Shih, Richard Gray, Virginia Wiseman, Tanya ApplegateRebecca Guy, Marianne Martinello, Behzad Hajarizadeh, Lise Lafferty, Wayne Dimich, Liza Cabuang, P Schroder, P Read, A Pedrana, Yumi Sheehan, Alex Thompson, Joss O'Loan, Mim O'Flynn, Gregory Dore, Susan Matthews

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: Fingerstick point-of-care HCV RNA testing enables diagnosis and treatment in a single-visit, increases testing acceptability, and reduces loss to follow-up, addressing the drop-off in the HCV care cascade. This analysis evaluated HCV testing and RNA prevalence in a national program to scale-up point-of-care HCV testing.

Methods: The National Australian HCV Point-of-Care Testing Program is evaluating the scale-up of point-of-care HCV testing (antibody: Bioline HCV test; RNA: Xpert HCV Viral Load Fingerstick test) at 90 sites in Australia, including drug treatment clinics, needle and syringe programs, prisons, mental health services, homelessness services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, and mobile outreach clinics through an observational study. The program facilitates point-of-care testing for anyone at risk of HCV or attending a service providing care for people at risk of HCV. The program also includes standardised operator training for non-laboratory staff and quality assurance program. Immediate HCV RNA testing is performed in settings with high HCV antibody prevalence (>15%, drug treatment, needle syringe programs and prisons). HCV antibody testing with reflex RNA testing is performed in settings with low HCV antibody prevalence (

: Between January 2022 and February 2023, 53 sites (community, n=43; prison, n=10) have been established in five states/territories (135 operators trained) with 6,653 HCV point-of-care tests performed (antibody, n=927; RNA, n=5,726) in the community (n=2,021) and prisons (n=4,261). Among those receiving HCV RNA testing, 850 people (14%) have current HCV infection (community, 10%; prison, 15%). HCV treatment uptake is 78% (662 of 850) overall and 93% (595 of 638) in prison.

Conclusion: Onsite point-of-care HCV testing has led to high treatment uptake across different settings across Australia. Standardised operator training and quality assurance have been critical for success.

Disclosure of Interest Statement: This study has received funding from the Australian Department of Health (LD21/1305), NSW Health, AbbVie, Gilead Sciences, and Cepheid. JG is a consultant/advisor and has received research grants from Abbvie, bioLytical, Camurus, Cepheid, Gilead Sciences, Hologic, and Indivior.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023
EventHIV Coinfection & VH Elimination 2023 - Sofitel Brisbane Central, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 21 Jul 202322 Jul 2023
https://ashm.eventsair.com/QuickEventWebsitePortal/avhecco-infections-2023/program (Conference program)


ConferenceHIV Coinfection & VH Elimination 2023
Internet address


  • hepatitis C
  • point-of-care testing
  • decentralised
  • national program


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